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Development in L2 phonology: Let’s take a long look at the age issue Martha Young-Scholten.

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Presentation on theme: "Development in L2 phonology: Let’s take a long look at the age issue Martha Young-Scholten."— Presentation transcript:

1 Development in L2 phonology: Let’s take a long look at the age issue Martha Young-Scholten

2 Fundamental issues in L2 acquisition are in part problems about time; claims about development are best interpreted within a full longitudinal perspective where light can also be shed on causes and effects regarding various phenomena (Ortega & Iberri-Shea 2005:26;30).

3 Fundamental issues in L2 phonology  ‘ Traditional’ issues  The role of L1 knowledge  The contribution of universals/developmental processes  The learner’s age upon initial exposure (and peripheral issues such as aptitude, identity, anxiety)  Emerging issues  Input  The relationship of phonological development to other components of language

4 Longitudinal studies  In L2A, the aim is the tracking of L1 influence and universal processes during development  Longitudinal studies allow observation of simultaneous development of phonology, morphology, syntax and the lexicon to look for causal relationships  Longitudinal data on the development of phonology by child L1ers, child L2ers and adult L2ers provides a developmental perspective on age (and follows current trends in the study of the acquisition of morphosyntax)  But few longitudinal studies of the phonological development of child L2 learners exist  Even fewer such studies exist on adult L2 learners.

5 The rest of the talk  1. A bit more background  2. The modern history of the study of L2 morphosyntax  3. Development in phonology  4. Development in L2 phonology  5. Conclusion

6 1. A bit more background  From the mid-1980s (e.g. Clahsen & Muysken 1986) through the 1990s (e.g. Vainikka & Young-Scholten 1994) and up to now (e.g. Meisel 2003) L2 morphosyntax researchers have paid (roughly) equal attention to  the kind of knowledge acquired (mental representations)  how this knowledge is acquired (its emergence, in stage-like development)  If the same mechanisms are employed across the lifespan  there should be no fundamental differences in learner’s mental representations (e.g. no UG-violating grammars)  there should be no differences in the developmental pathways taken (apart from L1 influence)  Much of this debate revolves around the production of verbal morphology (non-finite vs. inflected forms) and the position in declarative and embedded clauses of these (main) verbs

7 Longitudinal studies of morphosyntax  Typically developing L1 children (including sign language learners)  Atypically developing L1 children  Simultaneous bilingual children  Child L2 learners (= the least number of studies)  Adult L2 learners  Studies have typically been of only one of these populations; multi-age studies such as Snow & Hoefnagel- Höhle (1982) and more recently Unsworth (2005) – both coincidentally on L2 Dutch – still represent a small minority

8 Longitudinal studies of phonology  Typically developing L1 children  Bilingual children (simultaneous)  Atypically developing L1 children  Child L2 learners  Adult L2 learners  In 39 years, 17 longitudinal L2 phonology have been carried out, mostly on segmental phonology, and mostly on English (Gut 2009)  L2 phonology models could be tested with such data (Best’s Perceptual Assimilation; Flege’s Speech Learning; Eckman’s Markedness/Structural Conformity; Major’s Ontogeny/Phylogeny; Archibald’s parameter resetting, Dziubalska-Kołaczyk’s Natural Phonology; Escudero & Boersma’s OT-based Functional Phonology)

9 IL phonology and age  L2 phonology is natural (Eckman 1981)  L2 adults’ phonologies are constrained by the same principles as younger learners’ phonologies (Young-Scholten 1996)  Many (all?) current L2 phonology models assume access to innate language-specific/phonology-specific mechanisms across the lifespan  E.g. Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolenksy 1993) assumes lifelong availability of a set of universal constraints; ranking differs across languages  Note: This puts L2 phonology at odds with L2 morphosyntax where debate regarding access to UG/use of same language-specific mechanisms across the lifespan is unrelenting (e.g. Bley-Vroman 2009).

10 IL phonology and age  To examine the critical/sensitive period for L2 phonology  Look at end-state L2ers with differing ages of initial exposure  Include extralinguistic factors, e.g. length of residence  Less less attention has been paid to factors such as input quality (e.g. from non-native speakers), input type (orthographic exposure/literacy), identity, aptitude and motivation (this is changing; perhaps presumably peripheral factors are important)  If there is a CP for L2 phonology, when does it end?  Pre-15 and post-15 year olds constitute two separate populations (=the CP closes around age 15; Patkowski 1990)  The CP closes earlier, starting at age 6 (Long 1990) 

11 IL phonology and age  On the one hand, we have plenty of evidence of use of the same mechanisms by younger and older learners  On the other hand, we have plenty of evidence of non-convergence on the target language phonology by older L2 learners  This paradox (if it is one) can best be resolved by more work in L2 phonology from a developmental perspective:  Without longitudinal data ‘claims about acquisition within an OT model are weak’ (Hancin-Bhatt 2008:142).  Errors (as we’ve known for awhile) aren’t the only measure of difficulty ‘rate of acquisition [...] is a more insightful measure of learning’ (Eckman 2008:101) – and best measured in a longitudinal study.

12 2. The modern history of the study of L2 morphosyntax  Studies of L2 learners in a naturalistic acquisition context initially dominated research on L2 morphosyntax (e.g. the ZISA project of adult Italian, Portuguese and Spanish learners of German) and through the 1990s (ESF project on 8 NLs/5 TLs) and currently continue to do so in the study of the L2A of information structure  Studying naturalistic learners removes one potentially crucial difference between older and younger L2 learners: instruction

13 L2 morphosyntax  Note: The sub-group of L2 syntax researchers currently approaching the UG access question by looking at poverty of the stimulus/PoS effects (where underlying structure is underdetermined by the input and not available from the L1), instructed L2 learners needn’t be excluded because PoS phenomena are not taught, because  Forms may not exist for teachers to focus on/correct when inaccurate  Lack of awareness by teachers of the latest generative analyses of syntax means that learners aren’t taught the underlying structure

14 Representative longitudinal studies of L2 morphosyntax by naturalistic (TL-immersed) adult learners (numerous such studies exist on L2 children, usually by PhD students) StudyL1 and L2Subjects Duration Cazden et al. 1970s L1 Spanish/L2 English2 children, 2 teenagers, 2 adults 10 mnths ZISA 1970s/80s L1 Spanish, Portuguese, Italian/L2 German 12 adults2 years ESF 1980s6 L1s/5 European L2s40 adults2 ½ years VYSA 1990sL1 English/L2 GermanThree teenagers1 year

15 What we know and don’t know  What we know  Older learners demonstrate UG access, too (White 1989 and work since then on PoS effects up to the present)  Learners’ ILs develop in stages where both younger and older learners display similar non-target patterns  What we are unsure of  The strength of influence of L1 knowledge (Schwartz & Sprouse 1996 vs. Vainikka & Young-Scholten 1996; to appear)  The relationship between verbal morphology and syntax  The source of non-target production in inflectional morphology

16 Debated: The interpretation of variable production of inflectional morphology  During acquisition, there is tight coupling of morphology + syntax: acquisition of a given morpheme represents related syntactic structure  Vainikka & Young-Scholten (1994): this holds in L1 and L2 acquisition  Haznedar & Schwartz (1997): morphology + syntax are tightly coupled in L1 acquisition but neither in child nor L2 acquisition  Missing inflection is due to surface-level mapping problems  Prévost & White (2000): morphology + syntax are tightly coupled for L1 and L2 children, but not for L2 adults  Goad, White & Steele (2003): variable production of functional morphology is related to L1 transfer of prosodic licensing (past/agreement/plural suffixes in L1 Chinese/L2 English)  Oldenkamp (2010): variable production (in L2 Dutch) involves interaction of morphology and prosodic structure

17 What is the role of phonology in the L2 acquisition of morphosyntax?  How does the learner go from reception of a continous speech stream to construction of a mental grammar? This has been ‘one of the most under-researched and under-theorized aspects of second language acquisition’ (Carroll 2001:1)  This is changing with experimental studies of the phonological realization of grammatical morphemes in L2 acquisition (Frenck- Mestre, Foucart, Carrasco & Herschensohn 2009; see also Arteaga, Herschensohn & Gess 2003 for pedagogical applications thereof)  Hancin-Bhatt (2008:119): substantial empirical evidence for developmental effects in L2 phonology notwithstanding, there are still few theoretical analyses that provide an account of  how these effects interact over time with each other  how they interact with other components of language

18 Adults w/no school Som;VN Target-like segmental and prosodic phonology Morphosyntax stage 1= bare VP; 4=CP Phonological awareness % correct reading level 4 = decoding onset; rimephoneme Phung29%1ii51%0%1 Nien3%1i34%17%1 Keif69%1ii61%8%1 Abba56%1ii56%17%1 Aliya63%1ii37%0%1 Shamey54%1i20%16%1 Asia81%1ii36%0%2 Sharif71% 4 68%42% 4 Naturalistic and uneducated adults: phonology + morphosyntax + phonological awareness + reading (cross-sectional study, Young-Scholten & Strom 2006)

19 3. Development in L1 phonology A time-line of studies Diary studies Large sample studiesLongitudinal sampling Preyer 1889Late 1920s- 1950s: groups of between 72 (Fisher 1934) and 430 (Templin 1957) children from 1;6 to 8;0 on their articulation, vocabulary, sentence length Braine 1963: 3 children Stern 1907,1924Miller & Ervin 1964: 5 children Leopold Brown 1973: 3 children Grégoire 1937,1947Bloom children Gvozdev 1949Others (usually one child) e.g. Velten 1943, Waterson 1971, Menn 1973, Smith 1973, Ingram 1974 Zarębina 1965Shvachkin 1973 study of 19 Russian children’s perception of phonemic distinctions from 0;10 to 1;6 Solely on phonology: Smith (1973)…Fikkert (1994)... Lleó & Prinz (1997)... Rose (2000)

20 4. Development in L2 phonology  Morphosyntax researchers’ recruitment of phonology to address the intractable problem of variation in production (and more; see below)  This points to the need to conduct studies along the lines of Snow & Hoefnagel-Höhle (but see below)  Do we know as much about L2 phonological development as we do about morphosyntactic development?  Do we know as much about L2 phonological development as we know about L1 phonological development?

21 StudyDescriptionFeatures investigated Dickerson yr: 5 Japanese students’ English/r/ and /l/ Wode 1978½ yr: 4 German children’s Englishphonology; morphology Hecht & Mulford /3 yr: 1 Icelandic child’s Englishfricatives Snow&Hoefnagel- Höhle yr: 33 children’s, teenagers’, adults’ Dutchphonology, morphology, vocabulary, syntax Sato 19845/6 yr: 2 Vietnamese boys’ Englishsyllable structure Rankin yrs: 32 Spanish university students’ English segmental perception, production Winitz et al /3 yrs: 1 Polish boy’s English.accent Carlisle yrs: 4 Spanish students’ Englishsyllable structure Abrahamsson /3 yrs: 1 Chinese adult learner’s Swedishsyllable structure Edwards 20065/6 yr: 2 Vietnamese adults’ Englishsyllable structure Derwing et al yrs: 32 Mandarin, Ukrainian, Russian adults’ English fluency; comprehensibility Oldenkamp yrs: 24 Turkish, Arabic, Chinese adults’ Dutch phonology; morphosyntax A time-line of longitudinal L2 phonology studies

22 Gut (2009): a corpus study that can provide a foundation for longitudinal, comparison data  Large-sample synchronic corpus L2 German (n= 55) and L2 English (n=46) focusing on rhythm, stress and intonation  German L2 learners’ initial exposure ranged from age three to 33 and included both instruction and immersion  Sample includes spontaneous speech, a reading passage, nonsense word reading and interview Qs on exposure, motivation, attitude, musical and acting ability  Gut examined relationships between prosody, morphology and extra-linguistic factors  Findings  The variation found is highly systematic  Acquisition involves a set of mutually dependent factors  Age is no barrier to acquisition of phonology

23 Phonology and vocabulary  In L1 acquisition, a vocabulary spurt coincides with acceleration of phonological development (Ingram 1976).  This spurt may relate to variability in syllable structure simplification processes: typically developing L1 children delete rather than epenthesize, but early talkers exhibit considerable epenthesis along with their larger vocabularies  In L2 acquisition epenthesis is the preferred syllable simplification strategy for older learners (Abrahamsson 2003; Weinberger 1987 )  Is there a comparable vocabulary spurt in (naturalistic) second language acquisition that coincides with phonological development?

24 Do older L2 learners resemble atypical L1 children?  One line of inquiry in L2 research on morphosyntax has involved asking whether L2 acquisition by older learners resembles that of atypically developing L1 children (most recently see Marinis to appear).  In L2 phonology, the question is whether developmental processes resemble that of the atypically developing children discussed for example in Ingram (1976) who either exhibited prolonged use of typically developing children’s processes or who followed unique processes.

25 The role of phonology in triggering morphosyntactic development The VYSA longitudinal corpus LEARNEREXPOSURE to foreign languages AGE at arrival in Germany Joan1 month of Spanish; no German 16 Paul1 semester of French; no German 17 George1 year of French; no German 15

26 Input and data collection in the VYSA study  Input  For the first four weeks  From a German teacher and other American students during language + culture course  From learners’ initial host family  During 11 subsequent months  From (native speaking) students in German secondary schools  From host families  Data collection  11 times (monthly), with individual learners in Germany  Broad and narrow morphosyntax and phonology tasks, including grammaticality judgment, comprehension and translation  Informal conversation with the researcher about the learner’s unfolding exchange experience

27 Stage: highest syntactic projectionJoanPaulGeorge 1i: VP (verb phrase) – no function words produced head-initial : Der Mann trinken der Kaffee ii: VP switches to head-final Die Madchen immer die Buch lesen : FP/TP emerges and is head-initial Ich gegessen der Apfel : AgrP emerges and is head-initial Ich wohnst there i: CP emerges and is head-initial Ich habe gewunst, dass du hast gefragt ii: AgrP switches to head-final Willst du es wirklich wissen, was wir gemacht haben? 911 never 4iii: AgrP head-final throughout11 never Joan, Paul and George’s acquisition of German syntax, from 3 wks after arrival (file 1) to ca. 12 months later (file 11)

28 Individual variation  Despite being the youngest, George made the least progress in his acquisition of syntax: we attribute this to his conscious learning of inflectional morphology (cf. Felix 1985 on competing cognitive structures)  George also made the least progress in acquiring final devoicing (see Young-Scholten 2004)  While Joan was best at morphosyntax, she Joan did not make the most progress in final devoicing (due to more orthographic exposure? (see Young-Scholten 2002)  How does this relate to the acquisition of morphosyntax?  All (naturalistic) learners (subconsciously) scan the input for cues or triggers that reveal how a given language operates

29 ProjectionTrigger in child German Trigger in adult L2 German VPStress patternL1 bootstrapping FP3 rd sg. –tModals TPParticiple affixes (ge/-t)Auxiliary haben ‘have’ AgrPAgreement (2 nd sg. –st)Copula sein ‘be’ CPObject clitics (-s/-n)Complementizers Phonological and morphological triggers for the acquisition of syntactic structure in German George consciously learned these two paradigms.

30 Detecting triggers  For us, triggers are among the morphological (verbal) elements which start to become productive in a learner’s speech before s/he posits new functional projections  They are robust (but does this equate to salience?) in the input  Longitudinal data required for examining such causal effects: morphosyntactic and phonological data  The VYSA have been orthographically transcribed  They have not yet been phonetically transcribed

31 When the data are phonetically transcribed, they can be donated to PHON  PHON: MacWhinney & Rose’s CHILDES-inspired data management tools for contribution of data to PhonBank.  PhonBank: overwhelmingly covers L1 phonology  What’s the ideal longitudinal L2A study for PhonBank?  Ortega & Iberri-Shea (2005) emphasize the need to gain a sufficiently lengthy picture in order to observe development  Expected time-scale for emergence of investigated phenomenon/a determines study length/session frequency  Although the boy in Winitz et al.’s study was tracked for 6 2/3 years, native production was attained after 1 year…  Emergence varies: re-examine cross-sectional data, including the details of participants’ input quantity and quality

32 Data from longitudinal studies not on phonology  Data collected for morphosyntactic analysis have been only orthographically transcribed  PHON only requires phonetically transcribed data, so recordings needn’t be of quality required for acoustic analysis  If state-of-the-art recording equipment (including analogue) has been used to enable transcription of TL- and non-TL-like inflectional morphology  And the usual care has been taken when recording  And if storage of recordings has been careful --- and it has been for the VYSA data --- then such data can be phonetically transcribed and analyzed to shed light on phonological development from the initial state onwards and on the role of phonology in triggering morphosyntactic development.


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