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How does first language influence second language rhythm? Laurence White and Sven Mattys Experimental Psychology Bristol University.

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Presentation on theme: "How does first language influence second language rhythm? Laurence White and Sven Mattys Experimental Psychology Bristol University."— Presentation transcript:

1 How does first language influence second language rhythm? Laurence White and Sven Mattys Experimental Psychology Bristol University

2 Overview Background:  Speech rhythm and “rhythm classes”.  New speech rhythm metrics. Speech production study:  Do new rhythm metrics serve to illustrate the influence of first language on second language rhythm?

3 Rhythm (music, speech, etc.) arises from the repetition of related sounds. In English speech, rhythm arises from repetition of stressed syllables. I did not have sexual relations with that woman – Miss Lewinsky. In Spanish, there is much less contrast between stressed and unstressed syllables. A pocos pasos de mi casa está una tienda bonita. Traditional distinction:  Syllable-timed languages (e.g. Romance).  Stress-timed languages (e.g. Germanic). Background: Rhythm

4 Stress-timing vs syllable-timing Stress-timed languages: isochrony? sleep.ing. soundly vs sleep.il.y. re.searches Stress-timing is alternation rather than regularity:  Greater differences between stressed and unstressed syllables… including:  Vowel reduction.  More complex consonant clusters, particularly in stressed syllable onsets and codas. e.g. (s)(t)(r)a(n)(d)(s)  Fewer open syllables.

5 Basis of rhythmic analysis Separate signal into vocalic and intervocalic sections and examine variations in length of each. the standardscommittee

6 New rhythm metrics Variance-based metrics (Ramus, Nespor & Mehler, 1999):  ΔV: standard deviation of vocalic intervals.  ΔC: standard deviation of intervocalic intervals.  %V: vocalic proportion of total utterance. Ramus, Nespor & Mehler (1999) Also examined PVI metrics (Low, Grabe & Nolan, 2000; Grabe & Low, 2002).

7 Overview Background:  Speech rhythm and “rhythm classes”.  New speech rhythm metrics. Speech production study:  Do new rhythm metrics serve to illustrate the influence of first language on second language rhythm?

8 Comparison between “rhythm classes”:  Spanish (“syllable-timed”) vs English (“stress-timed”). Six speakers per condition. Five sentences per language. Other materials also recorded for most speakers:  Map task to elicit non-read speech. Second language recordings Language spoken Native language SpanishEnglish Spanish English Eng Sp Eng Eng Sp Sp

9 Spanish & English L1/L2 results: Variance-based metrics Speech rate (syls/sec) Eng Eng Sp Sp Sp Eng Key Lang. spoken Native lang.

10 All speakers: Effect of speech rate on ΔV VarcoV – ΔV normalised for speech rate: ΔV / Mean V (Dellwo & Wagner, 2003)

11 Spanish & English L1/L2 results: Rate normalised ΔV and %V Eng Eng Sp Sp Sp Eng Key Lang. spoken Native lang.

12 A mí no me gustaba su coche pequeño y viejo. 65, 67 vs 67, 66 47, 32 vs 71, 56 40, 41 vs 27, 24 Spanish L1/L2: %V differences continued… Vowel duration (ms) Sp Eng Vowel duration (ms) Sp

13 What is the effect of speaking a second language, when languages are rhythmically similar? Comparison within “rhythm classes”:  Dutch (“stress-timed”) vs English (“stress-timed”). Six speakers per condition. Five sentences per language. Language spoken Native language DutchEnglish Dutch English Second language recordings Eng Dut Eng Eng Dut Dut

14 Cross-linguistic results: Dutch vs English Eng Eng Sp Sp Sp Eng Key Lang. spoken Native lang. Dut Eng Eng Dut Dut

15 First and second language rhythm: summary Influence of L1 on L2:  Consonantal metrics show little influence of L1.  Vocalic metrics:  Normalisation for speech rate necessary (VarcoV).  Clearly show influence of L1 on L2.  But…  Not necessarily intermediate between L1 and L2.  Little accommodation to L2 when languages are rhythmically similar.

16 Interpretation of rhythm metrics Rhythmic distinctions can be seen as arising from specific segmental and prosodic processes:  Rhythm as emergent property rather than product of top-down timing control. Variation within “rhythm classes” sometimes as large as between.  Suggests distinction is not simply bimodal. Further research: How do rhythm metrics relate to the subjective experience of linguistic rhythm?

17 Credits Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, U.K. Juan Toro, Barcelona. Elizabeth Johnson, Nijmegen. Eric-Jan Wagenmakers & Atie Vogelenzang de Jong, Amsterdam. Ineke Mennen, Edinburgh. Reinier Salverda, London.


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