Indiana University

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What did you say? Locating Word Boundaries in French as a Second/Foreign Language

 Time: Saturday, March 02, 2013, 04:00pm - 05:15pm

 Place: Swain East 105

Annie Tremblay (University of Kansas)

Recognizing words in continuous speech, a seemingly effortless task in the native language (L1), becomes strikingly difficult in a second/foreign language (L2), because different information signals the beginning and end of words in the L1 and in the L2. What type of linguistic cues do adult L2 learners use to recognize words in continuous speech? Does their use of these cues change as their proficiency in the L2 increases? Can high-proficiency L2 learners recognize words as efficiently as native speakers do? I will present two eye-tracking listening studies that examine how adult native speakers of English at different proficiencies in French use linguistic cues to locate word boundaries in French. I will focus specifically on liaison consonants as a distributional cue to word-initial boundaries and on pitch prominence as a prosodic cue to word-final boundaries in French. The results show an important asymmetry in L2 learners’ ability to use these two types of linguistic cues for locating word boundaries in French speech. I will discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of both the nature of the linguistic information that the adult brain can learn to use and the pedagogical interventions needed in French classrooms.

Keynote address of the French and Italian Graduate Student Organization Conference
In category: Second language acquisition


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