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Languages, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 38 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): How is nonnative (L2) speech perception affected jointly by listeners’ native language (L1) background and individual differences (IDs) that are not L1-specific? We explore the hypothesis that the relative contributions of these factors change with L2 experience, such that IDs are more influential at earlier stages of learning, while L1 is more influential at later stages. A study of L2 learners of Korean from diverse L1 backgrounds showed, in pre-learning perception, high individual variability yet little evidence of L1 effects; by contrast, post-learning perception showed significant L1 effects. These findings support the view that L1 affects L2 perception dynamically, according to the amount of L2 knowledge available at a given time. That is, L1 and IDs both play a role in L2 perception, but to different degrees over the course of L2 development. View this paper.
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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Deuchar, Margaret. 2020. Code-Switching in Linguistics: A Position Paper. Languages 5: 22
Languages 2020, 5(4), 73; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040073 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 468
Abstract
The author wishes to make the following correction to the paper by [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Code-Switching)
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Open AccessArticle
The Sound Pattern of Heritage Spanish: An Exploratory Study on the Effects of a Classroom Experience
Languages 2020, 5(4), 72; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040072 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 595
Abstract
While heritage Spanish phonetics and phonology and classroom experiences have received increased attention in recent years, these areas have yet to converge. Furthermore, most research in these realms is cross-sectional, ignoring individual or group changes across time. We aim to connect research strands [...] Read more.
While heritage Spanish phonetics and phonology and classroom experiences have received increased attention in recent years, these areas have yet to converge. Furthermore, most research in these realms is cross-sectional, ignoring individual or group changes across time. We aim to connect research strands and fill gaps associated with the aforementioned areas by conducting an individual-level empirical analysis of narrative data produced by five female heritage speakers of Spanish at the beginning and end of a semester-long heritage language instruction class. We focus on voiced and voiceless stop consonants, vowel quality, mean pitch, pitch range, and speech rate. Our acoustic and statistical outputs of beginning versus end data reveal that each informant exhibits a change in between three and five of the six dependent variables, showing that exposure to a more formal register through a classroom experience over the course of a semester constitutes enough input to influence the heritage language sound system, even if the sound system is not an object of explicit instruction. We interpret the significant changes through the lenses of the development of formal speech and discursive strategies, phonological retuning, and speech style and pragmatic effects, while also acknowledging limitations to address in future related work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
On Single and Two-Tiered Approaches to Control
Languages 2020, 5(4), 71; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040071 - 15 Dec 2020
Viewed by 407
Abstract
In his most recent work, Landau suggests that control in impersonal passive constructions is cross-linguistically limited to attitude verbs and argues that this universal restriction offers convincing support for his two-tiered theory of control (TTC) over his earlier “single tier” Agree-based model. This [...] Read more.
In his most recent work, Landau suggests that control in impersonal passive constructions is cross-linguistically limited to attitude verbs and argues that this universal restriction offers convincing support for his two-tiered theory of control (TTC) over his earlier “single tier” Agree-based model. This paper further examines sentences involving control and passivization and argues that improved empirical coverage is achieved in this area by a single-tier Agree approach to control, one fundamentally different from Landau’s earlier analysis in its extension to control Reuland’s proposals reducing binding phenomena to Agree. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Information-Seeking Question Intonation in Basque Spanish and Its Correlation with Degree of Contact and Language Attitudes
Languages 2020, 5(4), 70; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040070 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 402
Abstract
The present study analyzes the prosodic characteristics of the variety of Spanish in contact with Basque (in the Basque Country, Spain). We focus on information-seeking yes/no questions, which present different intonation contours in Spanish and Basque. In Castilian Spanish, these sentences end in [...] Read more.
The present study analyzes the prosodic characteristics of the variety of Spanish in contact with Basque (in the Basque Country, Spain). We focus on information-seeking yes/no questions, which present different intonation contours in Spanish and Basque. In Castilian Spanish, these sentences end in a rising contour, whereas in Basque, they end in a falling or rising–falling circumflex contour. In our previous work, this topic was investigated among the urban populations of Bilbao and San Sebastian. The results were that 79% of information-seeking yes/no questions had final falling intonational configurations. All the speakers presented a substantial presence of final falls regardless of their linguistic profile, but there were differences among speakers in the degree of presence of such features. A correlation was observed between the dependent variable of ‘frequency of occurrence of final falls in absolute interrogatives’ and social factors, such as ‘degree of contact with Basque’ and ‘attitudes towards Basque and the Basque ethnolinguistic group’. The correlation was that the higher the degree of contact with Basque and the more positive the attitudes towards Basque and the Basque ethnolinguistic group, the greater the frequency of occurrence of final falling intonational contours in information-seeking absolute interrogatives. The interpretation of this correlation was that the adoption of the characteristic Basque prosody allows speakers to be recognized as members of the Basque community. In the present study, we focused on rural areas. Falling intonational contours at the end of information-seeking absolute interrogatives were even more common than in urban areas (93.4%), and no correlation was found with degree of contact with Basque and with attitudes towards Basque. Our interpretation is that in rural areas the presence of Basque in daily life is stronger, and that there is a consolidated variety of Spanish used by all speakers regardless of their attitudes. Thus, the adoption of intonating features of this language is not the only indicator belonging to the Basque ethnolinguistic group. Our study reveals the great relevance of subjective social factors, such as language attitudes, in the degree of convergence between two languages. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Reading and Writing Connections in Developing Overall L2 Literacy: A Case Study
Languages 2020, 5(4), 69; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040069 - 11 Dec 2020
Viewed by 483
Abstract
This study focused on the characteristics of an action-research study concerning an English language reading and writing intervention program in a primary state school, located in northeast Portugal (low-Socio Economic Status setting), where four groups of children (n = 92) participated in [...] Read more.
This study focused on the characteristics of an action-research study concerning an English language reading and writing intervention program in a primary state school, located in northeast Portugal (low-Socio Economic Status setting), where four groups of children (n = 92) participated in the academic year 2019–2020, after the National strategy for foreign languages was launched. The longitudinal study carried out in the action-research methodology, where the teacher, syllabus designer and researcher was the main author, was set out with two main aims. The first was to tackle and to overcome the lack of teacher training for teaching English to young learners in Portuguese primary schools. The second was to prompt intervention, through the design and implementation of a suitable pedagogic approach for teaching English to young learners, in line with Content for Language and Integrated Learning (CLIL) principles, namely English Across the Curriculum, thus fostering the interrelationships between English language reading and writing skills. The findings of the action-research reading intervention program demonstrate that it is possible to overcome such barriers as pupils’ negative attitudes and counteract the damaging effects of poverty in foreign language literacy development by exposing them to children’s picturebooks/storybooks, thus fostering the overall literacy development. The key concepts explored in these books, being associated with primary key curriculum themes are an effective way to establish clear positive connections among English language reading and writing relationships. In addition, the current study also sheds light on how primary English language school teachers can design suitable pedagogic approaches to foster overall literacy development, thus advancing innovative teacher training opportunities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Gender in Unilingual and Mixed Speech of Spanish Heritage Speakers in The Netherlands
Languages 2020, 5(4), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040068 - 04 Dec 2020
Viewed by 812
Abstract
This study examines heritage speakers of Spanish in The Netherlands regarding their production of gender in both their languages (Spanish and Dutch) as well as their gender assignment strategies in code-switched constructions. A director-matcher task was used to elicit unilingual and mixed speech [...] Read more.
This study examines heritage speakers of Spanish in The Netherlands regarding their production of gender in both their languages (Spanish and Dutch) as well as their gender assignment strategies in code-switched constructions. A director-matcher task was used to elicit unilingual and mixed speech from 21 participants (aged 8 to 52, mean = 17). The nominal domain consisting of a determiner, noun, and adjective was targeted in three modes: (i) Unilingual Spanish mode, (ii) unilingual Dutch mode, and (iii) code-switched mode in both directions (Dutch to Spanish and Spanish to Dutch). The production of gender in both monolingual modes was deviant from the respective monolingual norms, especially in Dutch, the dominant language of the society. In the code-switching mode, evidence was found for the gender default strategy (common in Dutch, masculine in Spanish), the analogical gender strategy (i.e., the preference to assign the gender of the translation equivalent) as well as two thus far unattested strategies involving a combination of a default gender and the use of a non-prototypical word order. External factors such as age of onset of bilingualism, amount of exposure and use of both languages had an effect on both gender accuracy in the monolingual modes and assignment strategies in the code-switching modes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
Theory of Mind, Executive Functions, and Syntax in Bilingual Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Languages 2020, 5(4), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040067 - 25 Nov 2020
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Impairments in Theory of Mind (ToM) are a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ToM may be enhanced by various factors, including bilingualism, executive functions (EF), and complex syntax. This work investigates the language-cognition interface in ASD by exploring whether ToM can [...] Read more.
Impairments in Theory of Mind (ToM) are a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ToM may be enhanced by various factors, including bilingualism, executive functions (EF), and complex syntax. This work investigates the language-cognition interface in ASD by exploring whether ToM can be enhanced by bilingualism, whether such ToM boosts would be due to EF or syntax, and whether routes to mentalizing would differ between bilinguals and monolinguals on the spectrum. Twenty-seven monolingual Greek-speaking and twenty-nine bilingual Albanian-Greek children with ASD were tested on ToM reasoning in verbal and low-verbal ToM tasks, an executive function 2-back task, and a sentence repetition task. Results revealed that bilingual children with ASD performed better than monolinguals with ASD in the low-verbal ToM and the 2-back tasks. In the sentence repetition task, bilinguals scored higher than monolinguals in complex sentences, and specifically in adverbials and relatives. Regarding the relations between ToM, EF, and sentence repetition, the monolingual group’s performance in the verbal ToM tasks was associated with complement syntax, whereas, for the bilingual children with ASD, performance in both verbal and low-verbal ToM tasks was associated with EF and adverbial clause repetition. The overall pattern of results suggests that mentalizing may follow distinct pathways across the two groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atypical Speech, Language and Communication Development)
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Silence and Distance: Evidence from Recomplementation in US Heritage Spanish
Languages 2020, 5(4), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040066 - 24 Nov 2020
Viewed by 526
Abstract
The present study investigates the architecture of heritage language grammars, as well as divergence from the baseline, by offering novel data. Recomplementation is defined as a left-dislocated phrase sandwiched between a primary (C1) and an optional secondary (C2) complementizer, e.g., He said that [...] Read more.
The present study investigates the architecture of heritage language grammars, as well as divergence from the baseline, by offering novel data. Recomplementation is defined as a left-dislocated phrase sandwiched between a primary (C1) and an optional secondary (C2) complementizer, e.g., He said that1later in the afternoon that2he would clean his room. While formal syntactic-theoretical accounts align on the grammaticality of recomplementation, experimental findings suggest that the overt C2 option is associated with a decrement in acceptability. An aural acceptability judgment task and a forced-choice preference task were administered in Spanish to 15 advanced US heritage speakers of Spanish (HS) and 12 members of a Colombian Spanish baseline group. Results show that HSs do not rate the overt C2 construction with a decrement in acceptability when compared to the null one. This behavior, along with a higher proportion of overt C2 preference, diverges from the baseline. In line with the Model of Divergent Attainment, we argue that the complexity associated with silent elements and dependency distance combined with processing burden leads to a reanalysis of the linguistic phenomenon. We introduce a multiple representations proposal that accurately describes the data in question and is faithful to current syntactic-theoretical accounts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
Ideas Buenas o Buenas Ideas: Phonological, Semantic, and Frequency Effects on Variable Adjective Ordering in Rioplatense Spanish
Languages 2020, 5(4), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040065 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 523
Abstract
Although linguistic research has often focused on one domain (e.g., as influenced by generative prioritization of the Autonomy of Syntax), critical findings have been uncovered by exploring the interaction of multiple domains (e.g., the link between morphological status and lateralization of /ɾ/; the [...] Read more.
Although linguistic research has often focused on one domain (e.g., as influenced by generative prioritization of the Autonomy of Syntax), critical findings have been uncovered by exploring the interaction of multiple domains (e.g., the link between morphological status and lateralization of /ɾ/; the syntactic–pragmatic interface’s constraints on subject expression). The position of adjectives relative to the nouns they modify is a good test case in this discussion because multiple areas of the grammar are implicated, including syntax, phonology, and semantics. Moreover, research on this structure has yielded small cells, which prevented the use of statistical tests to convey the relative importance of multiple factors. Consequently, our study used a controlled, 24-item contextualized preference task to assess the roles of semantics (i.e., adjective class), phonology (i.e., noun–adjective syllable length differences), and lexical frequency on variable adjective ordering for 100 speakers of rioplatense Argentinean Spanish. Mixed-effects regression revealed that each factor was significant, with shorter, high-frequency, evaluative adjectives most favoring pre-position. Individual adjective analysis confirmed the greater effect of lexical frequency than semantic class, with additional corpora analyses further elucidating these trends. The study adds to the growing body of research on the role of factors across linguistic domains, while arguing for the importance of the relative frequency of adjective–noun collocations and complementing recent research on lexical effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Focus Prosody Varies by Phrase-Initial Tones in Seoul Korean: Production, Perception, and Automatic Classification
Languages 2020, 5(4), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040064 - 18 Nov 2020
Viewed by 444
Abstract
Production and perception experiments were conducted to examine whether focus prosody varies by phrase-initial tones in Seoul Korean. We also trained an automatic classifier to locate prosodic focus within a sentence. Overall, focus prosody in Seoul Korean was weak and confusing in production, [...] Read more.
Production and perception experiments were conducted to examine whether focus prosody varies by phrase-initial tones in Seoul Korean. We also trained an automatic classifier to locate prosodic focus within a sentence. Overall, focus prosody in Seoul Korean was weak and confusing in production, and poorly identified in perception. However, Seoul Korean’s focus prosody differed between phrase-initial low and high tones. The low tone group induced a smaller pitch increase by focus than the high tone group. The low tone group was also subject to a greater degree of confusion, although both tone groups showed some degree of confusion spanning the entire phrase as a focus effect. The identification rate was, therefore, approximately half in the low tone group (23.5%) compared to the high tone group (40%). In machine classification, the high tone group was also more accurately identified (high: 86% vs. low: 68%) when trained separately, and the machine’s general performance when the two tone groups were trained together was much superior to the human’s (machine: 65% vs. human: 32%). Although the focus prosody in Seoul Korean was weak and confusing, the identification rate of focus was higher under certain circumstances, which avers that focus prosody can vary within a single language. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Syntactic Distribution of Object Experiencer Psych Verbs in Heritage Spanish
Languages 2020, 5(4), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040063 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 606
Abstract
This paper contributes to our understanding of the grammatical architecture of heritage languages and, specifically, the role of lexical semantics, by examining the syntactic distribution of Spanish psych verbs. Object experiencer psych verbs in Spanish fall into two classes: Class II (e.g., molestar [...] Read more.
This paper contributes to our understanding of the grammatical architecture of heritage languages and, specifically, the role of lexical semantics, by examining the syntactic distribution of Spanish psych verbs. Object experiencer psych verbs in Spanish fall into two classes: Class II (e.g., molestar “to bother”) and Class III (e.g., encantar “to love”). Class II verbs allow numerous syntactic alternations, while Class III verbs are more restricted syntactically. The asymmetry under investigation here is attributed to a lexical semantic featural difference—Class II verbs can be [±change of state], while Class III verbs are always [−change of state]. Two groups of HSs, (intermediate (n = 21) and advanced (n = 18)), and a group of Spanish dominant bilinguals (n = 19) completed two judgment tasks, a standard proficiency measure, a vocabulary task, and a biographical questionnaire. Results reveal that the responses of both HS groups are consistent with the Spanish dominant bilinguals in nearly all conditions, indicating that HSs are highly sensitive to this syntactic distribution. These results also highlight the importance of considering the results of individual verbs in studies that focus on lexical semantics, as they not only help us understand aggregate trends, but also reveal, in this case, that even in cases of deviant underlying semantic representations, licensing restrictions at the syntax-lexical semantic interface remain intact, suggesting that this is an area of resilience in the Heritage Spanish grammar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
Context-Based Interpretation of Subordinating Conjunctions in Communication
Languages 2020, 5(4), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040062 - 16 Nov 2020
Viewed by 516
Abstract
While acknowledging that different conjunctions define different relationships between ideas, this study focuses on the interpretation of four subordinating conjunctions, namely, because, since, for and as in causal clauses. Since the meanings of these conjunctions vary according to context, among other [...] Read more.
While acknowledging that different conjunctions define different relationships between ideas, this study focuses on the interpretation of four subordinating conjunctions, namely, because, since, for and as in causal clauses. Since the meanings of these conjunctions vary according to context, among other things, they usually pose problems to language users leading to misinterpretations. Not only does this emerge from the fine and minute distinctions in usage between them, but also due to the lack of adequate knowledge of the rules of language use in their metatheoretical framework. This kind of knowledge is crucial in interactive communication, speech acts, pragmatics, logical arguments and multidisciplinary debates. The data for this study were compiled from grammar books, articles, and from the British National Corpus (BNC). The data were analyzed not only to identify the discrete features of each conjunction that would render it different from its synonymous counterparts, but also to understand the kind of knowledge required to determine the choice. The findings of the study reveal that, in addition to the syntactic constraints, the degree of the ‘givenness’ or ‘newness’ of the information that the conjunction introduces, context, degree of formality of the register, and lexical density of the utterance that contains the conjunctions emerged to play a role. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Forms’ Ratio of Conditioning on Word-Final /s/ Voicing in Mexican Spanish
Languages 2020, 5(4), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040061 - 16 Nov 2020
Viewed by 518
Abstract
There is mounting evidence that words that occur proportionately more often in contexts that condition a phonetically-motivated sound change end up changing more rapidly than other words. Support has been found in at least modern-day Spanish, Medieval Spanish, bilingual English-Spanish, and modern-day English. [...] Read more.
There is mounting evidence that words that occur proportionately more often in contexts that condition a phonetically-motivated sound change end up changing more rapidly than other words. Support has been found in at least modern-day Spanish, Medieval Spanish, bilingual English-Spanish, and modern-day English. This study tests whether there is support for this idea with regards to the variable voicing of word-final /s/ in Spanish. An analysis of 1431 tokens of word-final /s/ spoken by 15 female speakers of Mexican Spanish living in Salinas, California, USA is performed. The response variable is the percentage of the /s/ segment that is voiced, and the effect of a handful of predictor variables shown in the literature to condition /s/ voicing is investigated. The variable of interest is forms’ ratio of conditioning (FRC), or the proportion of times with which word types occur in the context that conditions voicing of word-final /s/. The results of a series of 40 beta regression models indicate that FRC significantly conditions the percentage of voicing of word-final /s/ in these data. Also, the effect of manipulating two aspects of FRC operationalization is analyzed. This study adds to the growing body of literature documenting the importance of cumulative contextual information in the mental representation of words. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Asymmetry and Directionality in Catalan–Spanish Contact: Intervocalic Fricatives in Barcelona and Valencia
Languages 2020, 5(4), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040060 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 499
Abstract
Multilingual communities often exhibit asymmetry in directionality by which the majority language exerts greater influence on the minority language. In the case of Spanish in contact with Catalan, the asymmetry of directionality, favoring stronger influence of Spanish as a majority language over Catalan, [...] Read more.
Multilingual communities often exhibit asymmetry in directionality by which the majority language exerts greater influence on the minority language. In the case of Spanish in contact with Catalan, the asymmetry of directionality, favoring stronger influence of Spanish as a majority language over Catalan, is complicated by the unique sociolinguistic statuses afforded to different varieties of Catalan. In order to empirically substantiate the social underpinnings of directionality in language contact settings, the present study examines the variable voicing and devoicing of intervocalic alveolar fricatives in Spanish, Barcelonan Catalan, and Valencian Catalan as processes that are historically endogenous and equally linguistically motivated in both languages. Intervocalic fricatives in both languages were elicited using a phrase-list reading task, alongside sociolinguistic interviews for attitudinal data, administered to 96 Catalan–Spanish bilinguals stratified by gender, age, and language dominance in Barcelona and Valencia, Spain. Patterns of sociolinguistic stratification consistent with community-level changes in progress favoring either Catalan-like voicing or Spanish-like devoicing varied by community, with a stronger influence of Catalan on Spanish in Barcelona and Spanish on Catalan in Valencia. These asymmetries, corroborated by attitudinal differences afforded to Catalan and Spanish in Barcelona and Valencia, ultimately reinforce the role of social factors in language contact outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Redefining Sociophonetic Competence: Mapping COG Differences in Phrase-Final Fricative Epithesis in L1 and L2 Speakers of French
Languages 2020, 5(4), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040059 - 12 Nov 2020
Viewed by 565
Abstract
This article presents a study of measures of center of gravity (COG) in phrase-final fricative epithesis (PFFE) produced by L1 and L2 speakers of Continental French (CF). Participants completed a reading task targeting 98 tokens of /i,y,u/ in phrase-final position. COG measures were [...] Read more.
This article presents a study of measures of center of gravity (COG) in phrase-final fricative epithesis (PFFE) produced by L1 and L2 speakers of Continental French (CF). Participants completed a reading task targeting 98 tokens of /i,y,u/ in phrase-final position. COG measures were taken at the 25%, 50% and 75% marks, normalized and submitted to a mixed linear regression. Results revealed that L2 speakers showed higher COG values than L1 speakers in low PFFE-to-vowel ratios at the 25%, 50%, and 75% marks. COG measures were then categorized into six profile types on the basis of their frequencies at each timepoint: flat–low, flat–high, rising, falling, rising–falling, and falling–rising. Counts of COG profile were then submitted to multinomial logistic regression. Results revealed that although L1 speakers produced predominantly flat–low profile types at lower percent devoicings, L2 speakers preferred multiple strategies involving higher levels of articulatory energy (rising, falling, rise–fall). These results suggest that while L1 speakers realize PFFE differently with respect to phonological context, L2 speakers rely on its most common allophone, strong frication, in most contexts. As such, the findings of this study argue for an additional phonetic dimension in the construct of L2 sociophonetic competence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Phonetic Account of Spanish-English Bilinguals’ Divergence with Agreement
Languages 2020, 5(4), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040058 - 11 Nov 2020
Viewed by 609
Abstract
Does bilingual language influence in the domain of phonetics impact the morphosyntactic domain? Spanish gender is encoded by word-final, unstressed vowels (/a e o/), which may diphthongize in word-boundary vowel sequences. English neutralizes unstressed final vowels and separates across-word vocalic sequences. The realization [...] Read more.
Does bilingual language influence in the domain of phonetics impact the morphosyntactic domain? Spanish gender is encoded by word-final, unstressed vowels (/a e o/), which may diphthongize in word-boundary vowel sequences. English neutralizes unstressed final vowels and separates across-word vocalic sequences. The realization of gender vowels as schwa, due to cross-linguistic influence, may remain undetected if not directly analyzed. To explore the potential over-reporting of gender accuracy, we conducted parallel phonetic and morphosyntactic analyses of read and semi-spontaneous speech produced by 11 Monolingual speakers and 13 Early and 13 Late Spanish-English bilinguals. F1 and F2 values were extracted at five points for all word-final unstressed vowels and vowel sequences. All determiner phrases (DPs) from narratives were coded for morphological and contextual parameters. Early bilinguals exhibited clear patterns of vowel centralization and higher rates of hiatuses than the other groups. However, the morphological analysis yielded very few errors. A follow-up integrated analysis revealed that /a and o/ were realized as centralized vowels, particularly with [+Animate] nouns. We propose that bilinguals’ schwa-like realizations can be over-interpreted as target Spanish vowels. Such variable vowel realization may be a factor in the vulnerability to attrition in gender marking in Spanish as a heritage language. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Asymmetrical Complexity in Languages Due to L2 Effects: Unserdeutsch and Beyond
Languages 2020, 5(4), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040057 - 11 Nov 2020
Viewed by 470
Abstract
This study examines asymmetries between so-called inherent and contextual categories in relation to the morphological complexity of the nominal and verbal inflectional domain of languages. The observations are traced back to the influence of adult L2 learning in scenarios of intense language contact. [...] Read more.
This study examines asymmetries between so-called inherent and contextual categories in relation to the morphological complexity of the nominal and verbal inflectional domain of languages. The observations are traced back to the influence of adult L2 learning in scenarios of intense language contact. A method for a simple comparison of the amount of inherent versus contextual categories is proposed and applied to the German-based creole language Unserdeutsch (Rabaul Creole German) in comparison to its lexifier language. The same procedure will be applied to two further language pairs. The grammatical systems of Unserdeutsch and other contact languages display a noticeable asymmetry regarding their structural complexity. Analysing different kinds of evidence, the explanatory key factor seems to be the role of (adult) L2 acquisition in the history of a language, whereby languages with periods of widespread L2 acquisition tend to lose contextual features. This impression is reinforced by general tendencies in pidgin and creole languages. Beyond that, there seems to be a tendency for inherent categories to be more strongly associated with the verb, while contextual categories seem to be more strongly associated with the noun. This leads to an asymmetry in categorical complexity between the noun phrase and the verb phrase in languages that experienced periods of intense L2 learning. Full article
Open AccessCommentary
Ideophones and Realia in a Santome/Portuguese Bilingual Dictionary
Languages 2020, 5(4), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040056 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 465
Abstract
In this work, we discuss how Araujo & Hagemeijer’s Santome/Portuguese bilingual dictionary defines and describes ideophones and realia lemmata. We show that ideophones were listed individually along with their expression counterparts. Realia lemmata (words and expressions for culture-specific items) or specialized lexical units [...] Read more.
In this work, we discuss how Araujo & Hagemeijer’s Santome/Portuguese bilingual dictionary defines and describes ideophones and realia lemmata. We show that ideophones were listed individually along with their expression counterparts. Realia lemmata (words and expressions for culture-specific items) or specialized lexical units were presented in their Santomean forms, followed by a description of their endemic specificities. Many realia items from Santome can also be found in Portuguese. We conclude that the authors contribute to the lexicographic record of ideophones, lexical items that did not exist in Portuguese, but relevant to the language and culture of Santome. On the other hand, with the documentation of realia entries, they collaborate for the validation of lexical units (originating in Santome) in the local vernacular variety of São Tomé and Príncipe’s Portuguese, a common historical practice in Portuguese lexicography. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Beyond Mere Text Frequency: Assessing Subtle Grammaticalization by Different Quantitative Measures. A Case Study on the Dutch Soort Construction
Languages 2020, 5(4), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040055 - 09 Nov 2020
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Grammaticalization has proven to be an insightful approach to semantic-morphosyntactic change within and across languages. Many studies, however, rely on assessing the large, obvious differences before and after the change. When investigating burgeoning or ongoing grammaticalization processes, it is notably harder to objectively [...] Read more.
Grammaticalization has proven to be an insightful approach to semantic-morphosyntactic change within and across languages. Many studies, however, rely on assessing the large, obvious differences before and after the change. When investigating burgeoning or ongoing grammaticalization processes, it is notably harder to objectively measure the degree of grammaticalization. One approach is to gauge changes in the well-known ‘parameters’ of Lehmann, Hopper, and Himmelmann, but this approach is often qualitatively oriented. Quantitative studies mainly rely either on token frequency of a construction, assuming that grammaticalization is accompanied by a frequency increase, or by tracing the development of two competing constructions, looking at the proportion of their respective token frequencies. In this article, we argue for a wider range of quantitative measures, beyond token frequency, as dependent variables. We will show that these measures can jointly point to subtle ongoing grammaticalization. As a case study, we will focus on Dutch binominals with soort ‘sort’, a core member of the much-discussed sort-kind-type (SKT) construction in the languages of Europe. Based on a large dataset of over 14,000 instances from the period between 1850 and 1999, we investigate quantitatively measurable changes in the construction’s surface behavior (i.e., the gradual loss of the relator van ‘of’ and increasing restrictions on premodification and pluralization, pointing to a process of ‘decategorialization’). In addition, we will also use Gries’s deviation of proportions (DP) to gauge the dispersion of soort, a valuable but under-used metric in quantitative studies of grammaticalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Empirical Approaches to Grammatical Variation and Change)
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Open AccessArticle
The Emergence of Second Language Categorisation of the English Article Construction
Languages 2020, 5(4), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040054 - 07 Nov 2020
Viewed by 592
Abstract
This study examines the emergent cognitive categorisation of the English article construction among second language (L2) learners. One hundred and fourteen Mandarin-L1 learners of English, divided into two L2 proficiency levels (low-to-intermediate and advanced), were measured by a computer-based cloze test for the [...] Read more.
This study examines the emergent cognitive categorisation of the English article construction among second language (L2) learners. One hundred and fourteen Mandarin-L1 learners of English, divided into two L2 proficiency levels (low-to-intermediate and advanced), were measured by a computer-based cloze test for the accuracy and response time of appropriate use of English articles in sentential contexts. Results showed that when learners acquired the polysemous English article construction they demonstrated stronger competence in differentiating individual form-function mappings in the article construction. L2 learners’ patterns of article construction usage were shaped by semantic functions. Learners performed better on the definiteness category than on the non-definiteness categories, suggesting that learners were sensitive to the prototypicality of nominal grounding. Advanced learners demonstrated an increased sensitivity to semantic idiosyncrasy, but they lacked contextualised constructional knowledge. Competition among the functional categories and restructuring of functional categories are important ways of regularization that learners go through to acquire semantically complex systems such as articles. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
(Divergent) Participation in the California Vowel Shift by Korean Americans in Southern California
Languages 2020, 5(4), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040053 - 06 Nov 2020
Viewed by 792
Abstract
This study investigates the participation in the California Vowel Shift by Korean Americans in Los Angeles. Five groups of subjects participated in a picture narrative task: first-, 1.5-, and second-generation Korean Americans, Anglo-Californians, and (non-immigrant) Korean late learners of English. Results showed a [...] Read more.
This study investigates the participation in the California Vowel Shift by Korean Americans in Los Angeles. Five groups of subjects participated in a picture narrative task: first-, 1.5-, and second-generation Korean Americans, Anglo-Californians, and (non-immigrant) Korean late learners of English. Results showed a clear distinction between early vs. late bilinguals; while the first-generation Korean Americans and the late learners showed apparent signs of Korean influence, the 1.5- and the second-generation Korean Americans participated in most patterns of the California Vowel Shift. However, divergence from the Anglo-Californians was observed in early bilinguals’ speech. Similar to the late bilinguals, the 1.5-generation speakers did not systematically distinguish prenasal and non-prenasal /æ/. The second-generation speakers demonstrated a split-/æ/ system, but it was less pronounced than for the Anglo-Californians. These findings suggest that age of arrival has a strong effect on immigrant minority speakers’ participation in local sound change. In the case of the second-generation Korean Americans, certain patterns of the California Vowel Shift were even more pronounced than for the Anglo-Californians (i.e., /ɪ/-lowering, /ɑ/-/ɔ/ merger, /ʊ/- and /ʌ/-fronting). Moreover, the entire vowel space of the second-generation Korean Americans, especially female speakers, was more fronted than that of the Anglo-Californians. These findings suggest that second-generation Korean Americans may be in a more advanced stage of the California Vowel Shift than Anglo-Californians or the California Vowel Shift is on a different trajectory for these speakers. Possible explanations in relation to second-generation Korean Americans’ intersecting gender, ethnic, and racial identities, and suggestions for future research are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cross-Linguistic Interactions in Third Language Acquisition: Evidence from Multi-Feature Analysis of Speech Perception
Languages 2020, 5(4), 52; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040052 - 03 Nov 2020
Viewed by 692
Abstract
Research on third language (L3) phonological acquisition has shown that Cross-Linguistic Influence (CLI) plays a role not only in forming the newly acquired language but also in reshaping the previously established ones. Only a few studies to date have examined cross-linguistic effects in [...] Read more.
Research on third language (L3) phonological acquisition has shown that Cross-Linguistic Influence (CLI) plays a role not only in forming the newly acquired language but also in reshaping the previously established ones. Only a few studies to date have examined cross-linguistic effects in the speech perception of multilingual learners. The aim of this study is to explore the development of speech perception in young multilinguals’ non-native languages (L2 and L3) and to trace the patterns of CLI between their phonological subsystems over time. The participants were 13 L1 Polish speakers (aged 12–13), learning English as L2 and German as L3. They performed a forced-choice goodness task in L2 and L3 to test their perception of rhotics and final obstruent (de)voicing. Response accuracy and reaction times were recorded for analyses at two testing times. The results indicate that CLI in perceptual development is feature-dependent with relative stability evidenced for L2 rhotics, reverse trends for L3 rhotics, and no significant development for L2/L3 (de)voicing. We also found that the source of CLI differed across the speakers’ languages: the perception accuracy of rhotics differed significantly with respect to stimulus properties, that is, whether they were L1-, L2-, or L3-accented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Rhotic Production by Bilingual Spanish Speakers
Languages 2020, 5(4), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040051 - 03 Nov 2020
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Due to its articulatory precision, the Spanish rhotic system is generally acquired in late childhood by monolingually-raised (L1) Spanish speakers. Heritage speakers and second language (L2) learners, unlike L1 speakers, risk an incomplete acquisition of the rhotic system due to limited Spanish input [...] Read more.
Due to its articulatory precision, the Spanish rhotic system is generally acquired in late childhood by monolingually-raised (L1) Spanish speakers. Heritage speakers and second language (L2) learners, unlike L1 speakers, risk an incomplete acquisition of the rhotic system due to limited Spanish input and possible phonological interference from English. In order to examine the effects of age of onset of bilingualism and cross-linguistic influence on bilinguals’ rhotic productions, twenty-four adult participants (six sequential bilingual heritage speakers, six simultaneous bilingual heritage speakers, six L1 Spanish speakers, six L2 Spanish learners) were audio recorded in a storytelling task and a picture naming task. The alveolar taps [ɾ] and alveolar trills [r] produced in these tasks were examined according to duration of the rhotic sound and number of apical occlusions. Results showed that the sequential bilinguals, but not the simultaneous bilinguals or the L2 learners, patterned similarly to the L1 Spanish speakers in their production of taps and trills. Neither heritage group produced the English alveolar approximant [ɹ]; the L2 learners, on the other hand, did produce [ɹ] when speaking Spanish. The results of this study suggest that early language input can affect the production of sounds that are acquired in late childhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
Shared or Separate Representations? The Spanish Palatal Nasal in Early Spanish/English Bilinguals
Languages 2020, 5(4), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040050 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 545
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to examine phonetic interactions in early Spanish/English bilinguals to see if they have established a representation for the Spanish palatal nasal /ɲ/ (e.g., /kaɲon/ cañón ‘canyon’) that is separate from the similar, yet acoustically distinct English /n+j/ [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to examine phonetic interactions in early Spanish/English bilinguals to see if they have established a representation for the Spanish palatal nasal /ɲ/ (e.g., /kaɲon/ cañón ‘canyon’) that is separate from the similar, yet acoustically distinct English /n+j/ sequence (e.g., /kænjn̩/ ‘canyon’). Twenty heritage speakers of Spanish completed a delayed repetition task in each language, in which a set of disyllabic nonce words were produced in a carrier phrase. English critical stimuli contained an intervocalic /n+j/ sequence (e.g., /dɛnjɑ/ ‘denya’) and Spanish critical stimuli contained intervocalic /ɲ/ (e.g., /deɲja/ ‘deña’). We measured the duration and formant contours of the following vocalic portion as acoustic indices of the /ɲ/~/n+j/ distinction. The duration data and formant contour data alike show that early bilinguals distinguish between the Spanish /ɲ/ and English /n+j/ in production, indicative of the maintenance of separate representations for these similar sounds and thus a lack of interaction between systems for bilinguals in this scenario. We discuss these discrete representations in comparison to previous evidence of shared and separate representations in this population, examining a set of variables that are potentially responsible for the attested distinction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Contributions of Crosslinguistic Influence and Individual Differences to Nonnative Speech Perception
Languages 2020, 5(4), 49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040049 - 31 Oct 2020
Viewed by 637
Abstract
Perception of a nonnative language (L2) is known to be affected by crosslinguistic transfer from a listener’s native language (L1), but the relative importance of L1 transfer vis-a-vis individual learner differences remains unclear. This study explored the hypothesis that the nature of L1 [...] Read more.
Perception of a nonnative language (L2) is known to be affected by crosslinguistic transfer from a listener’s native language (L1), but the relative importance of L1 transfer vis-a-vis individual learner differences remains unclear. This study explored the hypothesis that the nature of L1 transfer changes as learners gain experience with the L2, such that individual differences are more influential at earlier stages of learning and L1 transfer is more influential at later stages of learning. To test this hypothesis, novice L2 learners of Korean from diverse L1 backgrounds were examined in a pretest-posttest design with respect to their perceptual acquisition of novel L2 consonant contrasts (the three-way Korean laryngeal contrast among lenis, fortis, and aspirated plosives) and vowel contrasts (/o/-/ʌ/, /u/-/ɨ/). Whereas pretest performance showed little evidence of L1 effects, posttest performance showed significant L1 transfer. Furthermore, pretest performance did not predict posttest performance. These findings support the view that L1 knowledge influences L2 perception dynamically, according to the amount of L2 knowledge available to learners at that time. That is, both individual differences and L1 knowledge play a role in L2 perception, but to different degrees over the course of L2 development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Gender Agreement and Assignment in Spanish Heritage Speakers: Does Frequency Matter?
Languages 2020, 5(4), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040048 - 30 Oct 2020
Viewed by 609
Abstract
Gender has been extensively studied in Spanish heritage speakers. However, lexical frequency effects have yet to be explored in depth. This study aimed to uncover the extent to which lexical frequency affects the acquisition of gender assignment and gender agreement and to account [...] Read more.
Gender has been extensively studied in Spanish heritage speakers. However, lexical frequency effects have yet to be explored in depth. This study aimed to uncover the extent to which lexical frequency affects the acquisition of gender assignment and gender agreement and to account for possible factors behind heritage language variability. Thirty-nine English-dominant heritage speakers of Spanish completed a lexical knowledge screening task (Multilingual Naming Test (MiNT)) along with an elicited production task (EPT), a forced choice task (FCT), and a self-rating lexical frequency task (SRLFT). Heritage speakers performed more successfully with high-frequency lexical items in both the EPT and the FCT, which examined their acquisition of gender assignment and gender agreement, respectively. Noun canonicity also affected their performance in both tasks. However, heritage speakers presented differences between tasks—we found an overextension of the masculine as well as productive vocabulary knowledge effects in the EPT, whereas the FCT showed an overextension of the feminine and no productive vocabulary knowledge effects. We suggest that lexical frequency, determined by the SRLFT, and productive vocabulary knowledge, as measured by the MiNT, account for the variability in the acquisition of gender assignment but not on gender agreement, supporting previous claims that production is more challenging than comprehension for bilinguals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
Clitic-Doubled Left Dislocation in Heritage Spanish: Judgment versus Production Data
Languages 2020, 5(4), 47; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040047 - 29 Oct 2020
Viewed by 523
Abstract
This project examines whether heritage speakers of Spanish distinguish when Spanish clitic-doubled left dislocation (CLLD) is discursively appropriate via an acceptability judgment task (AJT) and a speeded production task (SPT). This two-task experimental design is intended to determine whether heritage speakers diverge from [...] Read more.
This project examines whether heritage speakers of Spanish distinguish when Spanish clitic-doubled left dislocation (CLLD) is discursively appropriate via an acceptability judgment task (AJT) and a speeded production task (SPT). This two-task experimental design is intended to determine whether heritage speakers diverge from an L1 Spanish/L2 English baseline and, if so, whether such divergence is due to their grammatical knowledge, processing constraints, or other task effects. The baseline group accepted and produced CLLD significantly more than other constructions in anaphoric contexts, with the opposite pattern in non-anaphoric contexts, as expected for Spanish. The heritage speakers showed the same significant differences in production in both conditions and in the AJT’s anaphoric condition; in the non-anaphoric condition, however, they did not show any differences between CLLD and the other relevant constructions. We argue that this group of heritage speakers knows the discursive distribution of CLLD just as the baseline speakers do, as attested by the similar performance pattern in production. Furthermore, we posit that their AJT performance, which shows evidence of overextension of CLLD beyond its anaphoric context and into non-anaphoric contexts, may be due to the metalinguistic nature of AJTs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
The Comprehension of Tense–Aspect Morphology by Spanish Heritage Speakers in the United Kingdom
Languages 2020, 5(4), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040046 - 29 Oct 2020
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Whilst heritage Spanish has been widely examined in the USA, less is known about the acquisition of Spanish in other English-dominant contexts such as the UK, and studies rarely assess the baseline grammar that heritage speakers are exposed to directly. In this study, [...] Read more.
Whilst heritage Spanish has been widely examined in the USA, less is known about the acquisition of Spanish in other English-dominant contexts such as the UK, and studies rarely assess the baseline grammar that heritage speakers are exposed to directly. In this study, we implemented a semantic interpretation task to 17 bilinguals in the UK to investigate child heritage speakers’ and their parents’ comprehension of the preterite–imperfect aspectual contrast in Spanish, an area of known difficulty. The results show that the parents are consistently more accurate in accepting and rejecting the appropriate morphemes than the children. Further analysis shows that children’s accuracy was best predicted by age at time of testing, suggesting that young heritage speakers of Spanish in the UK can acquire the target grammar. However, this general increase in accuracy with age was not found for the continuous reading of imperfective aspect. This finding implicates a more nuanced role of cross-linguistic influence in early heritage speakers’ grammar(s), and partially explains greater difficulty with the imperfect observed in production studies with other heritage speakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
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Open AccessArticle
The Acquisition of Preposition + Article Contractions in L3 Portuguese among Different L1-Speaking Learners: A Variationist Approach
Languages 2020, 5(4), 45; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040045 - 27 Oct 2020
Viewed by 510
Abstract
This paper sheds light on the paths of third language (L3) acquisition of Portuguese by Spanish–English speakers whose first language is Spanish (L1 Spanish), English (L1 English), or both in the case of heritage speakers of Spanish (HL). Specifically, it looks at the [...] Read more.
This paper sheds light on the paths of third language (L3) acquisition of Portuguese by Spanish–English speakers whose first language is Spanish (L1 Spanish), English (L1 English), or both in the case of heritage speakers of Spanish (HL). Specifically, it looks at the gradual acquisition of a categorical rule in Portuguese, where some prepositions are invariably contracted with the determiner that follows them. Based on a corpus of 1910 written assignments by Portuguese L3 learners, we extracted 21,879 tokens in obligatory contraction contexts and submitted them to a multivariate analysis. This analysis allowed for the investigation of the impact of linguistic (type of preposition and definite article number and gender) and extra-linguistic factors (course level and learner’s language background), with logistic regression modeling with sum contrasts and individual as a random effect. While results point to some clear similarities across the three language groups—all learners acquired the contractions in a u-shaped progression and used more contractions with the a preposition and fewer with the por preposition—participants acquire contractions at a higher rate when the article is singular than when it is plural, and in the case of HL speakers, more so when the article is masculine than when it is feminine. These results confirm the facilitatory role of a previously acquired language (i.e., Spanish) that is typologically similar to the target language (i.e., Portuguese) in transfer patterns during L3 acquisition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Instructed Second Language Learning on the Acoustic Properties of First Language Speech
Languages 2020, 5(4), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages5040044 - 26 Oct 2020
Viewed by 594
Abstract
This paper reports on a comprehensive phonetic study of American classroom learners of Russian, investigating the influence of the second language (L2) on the first language (L1). Russian and English productions of 20 learners were compared to 18 English monolingual controls focusing on [...] Read more.
This paper reports on a comprehensive phonetic study of American classroom learners of Russian, investigating the influence of the second language (L2) on the first language (L1). Russian and English productions of 20 learners were compared to 18 English monolingual controls focusing on the acoustics of word-initial and word-final voicing. The results demonstrate that learners’ Russian was acoustically different from their English, with shorter voice onset times (VOTs) in [−voice] stops, longer prevoicing in [+voice] stops, more [−voice] stops with short lag VOTs and more [+voice] stops with prevoicing, indicating a degree of successful L2 pronunciation learning. Crucially, learners also demonstrated an L1 phonetic change compared to monolingual English speakers. Specifically, the VOT of learners’ initial English voiceless stops was shortened, indicating assimilation with Russian, while the frequency of prevoicing in learners’ English was decreased, indicating dissimilation with Russian. Word-final, the duration of preceding vowels, stop closures, frication, and voicing during consonantal constriction all demonstrated drift towards Russian norms of word-final voicing neutralization. The study confirms that L2-driven phonetic changes in L1 are possible even in L1-immersed classroom language learners, challenging the role of reduced L1 use and highlighting the plasticity of the L1 phonetic system. Full article
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