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Boundary tones in non-native speech: The transfer of pragmatic strategies from L1 Swedish into L2 Spanish
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.
2014 (English)In: Intercultural Pragmatics, ISSN 1612-295X, Vol. 11, no 2, 159-198 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The pragmatic functions of pitch at tone unit boundaries are studied in L2 Spanish spoken by Swedish learners, as compared to L1 Swedish and L1 Spanish. The data are recordings of a task in which the subjects - 10 learners of Spanish and 13 native controls - make a restaurant booking on the phone in Spanish, and the Swedish subjects also perform this task in their L1. The tone unit boundary rises and falls produced have been analyzed with special focus on rises and their accompanying vowel duration patterns. The turn-regulating functions of signaling turn-continuation vs. transition-relevance are contrasted with intersubjectivity-regulating signals, namely (non-) prompts for information and ( non-) prompts for interpersonal acceptance. Since open-ended yes/no-questions are signaled by rises in Spanish, though not in Swedish, and since declaratives carrying a positive politeness value tend to end in rises (the tail flick) in Swedish, though not in Spanish, various types of potential negative transfer could be predicted for Swedish learners' L2 Spanish. It is shown that L1 Spanish speakers consistently use moderate rises for turn-keeping and high rises for information-seeking, and that this pattern has no equivalence in the L2 Spanish data. Conversely, rises in L2 Spanish frequently occur where L1 Spanish speakers prefer falls. These rises, interpreted as tail flicks,also occur in L1 Swedish, but they are far more frequent in the L2 Spanish data. Thus, clear transfer patterns are found, which are further reinforced by - insecurity effects due to L2 speaking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 11, no 2, 159-198 p.
Keyword [en]
second language acquisition, pragmatics of prosody, prosodic transfer, intersubjectivity, boundary tones
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106092DOI: 10.1515/ip-2014-0008ISI: 000337112400001OAI: diva2:735364


Available from: 2014-07-25 Created: 2014-07-21 Last updated: 2014-07-25Bibliographically approved

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Fant, Lars
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