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Second language acquisition of prosody

tweede taalPhD student: Amanda post da Silveira
Supervisors: Vincent van Heuven, Niels O. Schiller, Johanneke Caspers and Claartje Levelt

At the LUCL I am investigating second language acquisition of prosody. My research is funded by the program Monesia-Erasmus Mundus. I am currently performing behavioral tests to investigate the mechanism of L2 prosody processing assuming theword as a central unit in the structuring of L2 multi-dimensional linguistic knowledge.

I follow the tenets of connectionist modeling which have been proving that phonology, orthographic and semantic representations are co-defining representations of words that may be analyzed both sequentially (in terms of phonemic and graphemic sequence of a word form) and iconically (in the sense that the system recognizes de acoustic and/or visual form and automatically matches it to a template from the L1 or L2 lexicon) by the dynamic L1-L2 system. Similarly, semantic forms also activate semantically related nodes, as well as their respective phonological and orthographic forms. Given this background, we hypothesize that words that are similar in form between L1 and L2 are likely to carry more prosodic transfer from L1 to L2 and vice versa. I intend to use many L1-L2 language pairs, but my main interest is to give an account for the acquisition of L2-English prosody by native speakers of L1-Brazilian Portuguese.

Picture: A Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) 'triangle' model by Seidenberg & McClelland’s (1989)