Non-Native Differences in Prosodic-Construction Use

Nigel G. Ward, Paola Gallardo

Dialogue and Discourse, 8 (1), pp 1-30, 2017.

Abstract: Many language learners never acquire truly native-sounding prosody, and often are weak on the dialog-related uses of prosody. Previous work has suggested this may involve deficits with specific prosodic constructions, but this has not been systematically investigated. We developed semi-automatic analysis methods able to identify and characterize such differences. Starting with two sets of dialog data, one of native speakers and one of non-natives, we applied Principal Components Analysis, and then identified differences in distributions and in the constructions themselves. Applied to recordings of six advanced-level native-Spanish learners conversing in English, these methods revealed differences in their uses of speaking rate and pitch in turn taking, and infrequent and variant use of the English prosodic constructions for showing involvement and for explaining.

Keywords: conversation, dialog, interaction, pragmatics, language learning, non-native prosody, L2 prosody, second language competence, American English, Mexican-Spanish speakers, L1 transfer

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of related interest: the Prosodic Constructions in Dialog panel at IPrA 2015.

Nigel Ward's Publications