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Turning an L1 three-way contrast into an L2 two-way contrast Paola Escudero University of Utrecht and McGill University Paul Boersma University of Amsterdam.

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Presentation on theme: "Turning an L1 three-way contrast into an L2 two-way contrast Paola Escudero University of Utrecht and McGill University Paul Boersma University of Amsterdam."— Presentation transcript:

1 Turning an L1 three-way contrast into an L2 two-way contrast Paola Escudero University of Utrecht and McGill University Paul Boersma University of Amsterdam Second International Conference on Contrast in Phonology Toronto, May 3, 2002

2 Introduction  Learning an L2 two-way contrast is problematic if it has an L1 three-way contrast as a starting point.  The initial state of L2 speech comprehension provides evidence of an intermediate perceptual level.  The perception of L2 learners improves during development.  L2 perceptual development need not affect L1 performance.

3 Case: the perception of front vowels by Dutch learners of Spanish

4 L1 and L2 production environments Dutch Spanish

5 Foreign-language perception

6 Transfer for beginners in identification L1 L2

7 Evidence for an intermediate discrete perception level  target-language /i/ associated with L1 /i/  target-language /e/ identified with L1 /  /  (/ I /  |i|: identification task reflects recognition)

8 L1 and L2 production environments Dutch Spanish

9 L2 perception improves

10 L1 perception stays good

11 Perception modes  The model requires that L2 boundaries can shift without affecting L1 perception.  Therefore, we must assume separate perception grammars for L1 and L2 within every single speaker.  Is there independent evidence for such a distinction? Set up the two alleged modes by language-dependent priming, then compare L1 classification in the two modes.

12 Beginning Dutch learners of Spanish Mode: Dutch Spanish

13 Intermediate Dutch learners of Spanish Mode: Dutch Spanish

14 Advanced Dutch learners of Spanish Mode: Dutch Spanish

15 Bilingual Dutch-Spanish Mode: Dutch Spanish

16 Formalization: OT constraints  “an F1 of 200 Hz is not /a/”  “an F1 of 200 Hz is not / E /”  “an F1 of 200 Hz is not / I /”  “an F1 of 200 Hz is not /i/”  “an F1 of 450 Hz is not /a/”  “an F1 of 1000 Hz is not /a/” ...

17 How OT handles perception [450 Hz]450 Hz not / A / 450 Hz not / i / 450 Hz not / I / 450 Hz not / E / / A / *! /E//E/ * /I/ /I/ /i/*!

18 L1 perception if there’s a lexicon  Recognition phase undoes misperceptions.

19 How recognition mismatches change the rankings in the perception grammar [450 Hz] | I | 450 Hz not / A / 450 Hz not / i / 450 Hz not / I / 450 Hz not / E / / A / *! /E//E/ ** /I//I/ *!  /i/*!

20 L1 computer simulation  Initial state: all constraints ranked equally high.  Learner hears 1000 tokens/month, drawn from the Dutch F1 distribution. Learner is also told (by recognition) which was the correct category.  Stochastic OT, evaluation noise 2.0.  Plasticity (size of the learning steps): starts at 10.0 (much larger than the evaluation noise); decreases by 3% every month; ends at after 18 years.  First fast, then accurate.

21 Dutch production environment (short front vowels and /  /)

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42 Final L1 state

43 L2 computer simulation  Initial state: final state of L1.  Learner hears 500 tokens/month, drawn from the Spanish F1 distribution. Learner is also told (by recognition) which was the correct category (/ A /, / E /, /i/; never / I /).  Stochastic OT, evaluation noise 2.0.  Plasticity (size of the learning steps): stays constant at 0.01  slow but accurate.

44 Initial L2 state (full transfer)

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65 Conclusions  The transfer of an L1 3-way contrast is problematic if the TL has a 2-way contrast.  There’s a perceptual level with discrete categories.  Learners improve their L2 perception (full access) without affecting their L1 performance (separate perception modes).  For the time being, the only linguistic framework that models this is OT with GLA.

66 Opposite claims  ‘L2 perception can hardly be learned’ (Pallier, Bosch & Sebastián-Gallés 1997)

67 Not in Pallier’s article…  The individual data show a bimodal distribution that was averaged

68 Pallier’s data actually confirm that L2 learners can become proficient

69 Opposite claims  There is only one perception mode: L1 (Pallier, Bosch & Sebastián-Gallés 1997)

70 Not in Pallier’s article…  The individual data confirm two modes

71 Pallier’s data actually confirm the two perception modes

72 Conclusions still valid...  The transfer of an L1 3-way contrast is problematic if the TL has a 2-way contrast.  There’s a perceptual level with discrete categories.  Learners improve their L2 perception (full access) without affecting their L1 performance (separate perception modes).  For the time being, the only linguistic framework that models this is OT with GLA.

73 Dank u voor uw aandacht! Gracias por su atención! Thank you for your attention!


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