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Predicting phonotactic difficulty in second language acquisition. Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kołaczyk Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań [email protected] Predicting phonotactic difficulty in second language acquisition. Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kołaczyk Grzegorz Krynicki

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predicting phonotactic difficulty in second language acquisition

Predicting phonotactic difficulty in second language acquisition

Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kołaczyk

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

[email protected]

predicting phonotactic difficulty in second language acquisition1

Predicting phonotactic difficulty in second language acquisition

Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kołaczyk

Grzegorz Krynicki

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

[email protected]

[email protected]

aim of the paper
Aim of the paper

to demonstrate that

  • universal phonotactic preferences guide the acquisition of consonant clusters in a second language
empirical evidence
Empirical evidence
  • young learners of English (L2 English) with the following L1’s:
    • independent: Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese
    • Sino-Tibetan: Chinese
    • Austronesian: Kosraean, Marshallese, Palauan, Ponapean, Samoan, Tagalog, Trukese, Visayan
    • Dravidian: Tamil
    • Polish
outline of the talk
Outline of the talk
  • Hypothesis
  • Description of the experiment
  • Introduction to B&B phonotactics
  • Phonotactic calculator
  • Analysis of the selected data
  • Preliminary conclusions
hypothesis
Hypothesis
  • a degree of difficulty in pronouncing L2 clusters would correlate with the universal characteristics of a given consonantal cluster
  • the more preferred a cluster, the easier and less susceptible to modificationsit is expected to be
  • NAD is expected to be a universal criterion, underlying the performance of all subjects, and surpassing other relevant factors, such as the structure of the subjects’ mother tongue, their experience with English or their other capacities and motivations
  • degree of preference is measured by the NAD Principle
description of the experiment
Description of the experiment
  • 53 subjects; 15 subjects analysed here
  • aged 11-13
  • native speakers of 15 various languages; 10 here
  • recorded reading 83 times an English carrier sentence I haven’t seen a xxx before! each time containing a different bi-syllabic nonce word
  • each word contained just one double or triple consonant cluster
  • all positions (initial, medial and final) and representative combinations were covered
text for subjects
Text for subjects
  • Read the following sentences aloud:
    • I haven’t seen a kyati before!
    • I haven’t seen a shwepy before!
    • I haven’t seen a chluppy before!
    • I haven’t seen a katewt before!
    • I haven’t seen a petewm before!
a sound file demo
a sound file demo
  • a Ponapean speaker (Micronesia)
b b phonotactics
B&B phonotactics
  • a universal model of phonotactics within Beats & Binding Phonology (Dziubalska-Kołaczyk 2002) – a syllable-less theory of phonology embedded in Natural Phonology
  • intersegmental cohesion determines syllable structure, rather than being determined by it (if one insists on the notion of the ”syllable”)
b b phonotactics1
B&B phonotactics

the phonotactic preferences specify the universally required distances between segments within clusters which guarantee, if respected, preservation of clusters (cf. intersegmental cohesion)

clusters, in order to survive, must be sustained by some force counteracting the overwhelming tendency to reduce towards CV\'s (CV preference)

this force is a perceptual contrast defined as NAD Principle (cf. Dziubalska-Kołaczyk 2002, 2003, Dressler & Dziubalska-Kołaczyk 2007, in press, Dziubalska-Kołaczyk & Krynicki 2007, Bertinetto et al. 2007)

11

b b phonotactics2
B&B phonotactics

the universal preferences specify the optimal shape of a particular cluster in a given position by referring to the

Net Auditory Distance Principle (NAD Principle)‏

NAD = |MOA| + |POA| + |Lx|

whereby MOA, POA and LX are the absolute values of differences in the Manner of Articulation, Place of Articulation and Voicing of the neighbouring sounds respectively

12

b b phonotactics3
B&B phonotactics

Example:

NAD (C1,C2) ≥ NAD (C2,V)‏

  • In word-initial double clusters, the net auditory distance (NAD) between the two consonants should be greater than or equal to the net auditory distance between a vowel and a consonant neighbouring on it.
table of consonants
Table of consonants

4

3

2

1

0

obstruent

sonorant

stop

fricative

sonorant stop

approximant

V

affricate

semiV









labial

1





















coronal

2









dorsal

3

radical

4

laryngeal

(glottal)‏

5

14

b b phonotactics4
B&B phonotactics

consider the preference for initial double clusters

NAD (C1,C2) ≥ NAD (C2,V)‏

let us now define two Net Auditory Distances between the sounds(C1, C2) and (C2, V) where

C1 (MOA1, POA1, Lx1)

C2 (MOA2, POA2, Lx2)

V(MOA3, Lx3)

in terms of the following metric for (C1, C2) cluster

|MOA1 - MOA2| + |POA1 - POA2| + |Lx1 - Lx2|

&

|MOA2 – MOA3| + |Lx2 – Lx3|

for (C2, V) cluster

15

b b phonotactics5
B&B phonotactics

Example:

in CCV in E. try

t = (4, 2, 0), r = (1, 2, 1), V = (0, 0, 1)‏

NAD (C1, C2) = |4-1| + |2-2| + |0-1| = 3+0+1=4

NAD (C2, V) = |1-0| + |1-1| = 1+0=1

thus, the preference

NAD (C1,C2) ≥ NAD (C2,V)‏

is observed because 4>1

NAD Principlemakes finer predictions than the ones based exclusively on sonority:

prV > trV, krV > trV, trV > drV, etc.

16

b b phonotactics6
B&B phonotactics
  • the universal NAD Principle leads to predictions about language-specific phonotactics, its acquisition and change
  • specifically, it also allows to predict and explain the order of difficulty in the acquisition of second language phonotactics which appears to be universally valid and as such calls for similar remedies across languages
phonotactic calculator
Phonotactic calculator
  • for the purposes of B&B phonotactics, Krynicki developed the phonotactic calculator
  • its purpose is to enable fine-tuning and developingthe theoryby statistical analysis of phonetic dictionaries and phonetically annotated corpora from various languages
phonotactic calculator r equirements
Phonotactic Calculator - requirements

various cluster lengths at all word positions

formulating phonotactic hypotheses

feedback on predictability of a phonotactic hypothesis

choice or customization of

available phone sets, features of each phone and scores for each feature

available phonetic dictionaries and languages (PolSynt, Festvox, Festival)

metrics used for calculating distances between phones (taxicab, euclidean)

accepted phonetic alphabets (IPA, SAMPA)

analysis of the selected data
Analysis of the selected data
  • a total of 1245 utterances
  • produced by 15 children
  • each reading 83 sentences containing a nonsense word with a 2- or 3-consonant cluster
  • in 767 of these utterances (61,6%) the speakers modified or avoided the cluster that was assumed to be the correct pronunciation of thenonsense word
part 1 of the hypothesis
Part 1 of the hypothesis
  • A degree of difficulty in pronouncing L2 clusters correlates with the universal characteristics of a given consonantal cluster.
  • To a certain degree the amount of correlation between the number of errors students make when producing a cluster and the NAD parameters between the components of that cluster can be illustrated by means of cluster ranking in terms of their NAD differences and their difficulty.
  • Ranking of clusters can be performed first with respect to the NAD criterion and then with respect to linearly scaled percentage of clusters in which speakers made errors.
  • Although statistically not significant, the trend line indicates the expected direction of change and degree of slope between difficulty and NAD measure for finals.
slide31

Part 2 of the hypothesis:

Linear Regression

  • The more preferred a cluster, the easier and less susceptible to modifications it is.
  • The error of complex mispronunciation annotated in the corpus involved combination of other various errors, epenthesis, substitution, metathesis and other.
  • There is a significant correlation between the NAD differences in a word-medial cluster and the frequency of the complex mispronunciation errors made in it by the speakers (P-value in the ANOVA = 0,0282; R-squared = 11,2148%).
part 2 of the hypothesis analysis of variance and median
Part 2 of the hypothesis:Analysis of variance and median
  • NAD(VC) - NAD(CC) turns out to have statistically significant influence on the number of reduction errors students made in word-finalclusters
slide34

reduction & word-final clusters

Preference↘

ANOVA F=11.86, p=0.006

Kruskal-Wallis T=7,46, p=0,006

Difference↗

34

part 3 of the hypothesis
Part 3 of the hypothesis

NAD is expected to be a universal criterion, underlying the performance of all subjects.

  • If a child produces a consonant cluster different from the expected one, this new cluster will usually follow phonotactic preferences (grand mean of 79.7% compared to 78.3% for expected clusters).
slide37
This suggests that phonotactic preferences underlie the performance of the subjects of various linguistic backgrounds and may be universal.
  • More research is necessary to show whether the speakers of different languages displayed significant differences in their following of the preferences.
preliminary conclusions
Preliminary conclusions
  • universal phonotactic preferences guide speakers in producing SL clusters
  • the scale of preference in the acquisition of a given type of cluster allows for fine-tuning of SL learning/teaching materials
  • many aspects of the analysis remain to be continued
    • comparison with the L1’s of the subjects
    • data from further subjects
    • detailed analysis of the errors: which types of improvements are preferred
slide40

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