Submitted theses 2017

Thesis: The relationship between speech perception and word learning at the initial state of second language acquisition

Samra Alispahic

PhD: Samra Alispahic

Submission year: 2017

Supervisor: Paola Escudero

CoEDL node: Western Sydney University 

CoEDL program: Processing

Abstract:

The goal of most adult second language (L2) learners is to confidently and efficiently communicate in their target L2. However, this task is not easy. In order to produce new L2 words a learner first needs to perceive the sounds that comprise these words. Considered effortless in one’s native language (L1), distinguishing novel L2 phonemes can be quite difficult for adult learners, and difficulties in L2 speech perception are often attributed to the negative transfer effects of the L1. Research suggests that the size of the L2 vowel inventory relative to the L1 inventory may affect the discrimination and acquisition of L2 vowels. Specifically, if the L1 has a smaller L1 vowel inventory than the L2 this may obstruct L2 vowel perception, while if the L1 has a larger vowel inventory it often facilitates vowel perception. However, the Second Language Linguistic Perception (L2LP) model specifies that it is the L1-L2 acoustic relationships that predict L2 vowel perception, regardless of L1 vowel inventory size. 

 
 

Thesis: The phonetics and phonology of the Lopit language

Rosey BillingtonPhD: Rosey Billington

Submission year: 2017

Supervisors: Janet Fletcher & Brett Baker

CoEDL node: University of Melbourne

CoEDL program: Processing

Abstract:

This thesis is an investigation of the sound system of Lopit, an Eastern Nilotic (Nilo-Saharan) language traditionally spoken in South Sudan. The primary aim of this study is to develop a phonetically-based description of aspects of Lopit segmental and tonal phonology, with a focus on the Dorik variety of the language.

 
 

Thesis: Alyawarr children's variable present temporal reference expression in two, closely-related languages of Central Australia

Sally Dixon

PhD: Sally Dixon

Supervisors: Jane Simpson, Gillian Wigglesworth, Catherine Travis & Johanna Rendle-Short

Submission year: 2017

CoEDL node: University of Queensland

CoEDL program: Shape

Abstract:

In a small, remote central Australian community, young children go about their daily lives mainly speaking Alyawarr English (AlyE), a new Central Australian contact language. At school they are acquiring Standard Australian English (SAE) as a second language. Much of what they encounter in SAE will seem familiar and much will be obviously different. In between, there will be many subtle differences that are possibly harder to detect, parse and maintain. This study investigates this remarkable bi-varietal language use, considering whether separate ‘codes’ are indeed evidenced, how they can be quantitatively modelled, and what they tell us about the impact of formal similarity between languages and emerging bilingualism.

Open access: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/125033

 

Thesis: Perception and production of Cantonese tones by speakers with different linguistic experiences

PhD: Mengyue Wu

Submission year: 2017

Supervisors: Janet Fletcher & Brett Baker

CoEDL node: University of Melbourne

CoEDL program: Processing

Abstract:

This study investigates the perception and production of Cantonese tones by speakers who differ systematically in their native prosodic systems and language learning experiences. These include native Cantonese speakers, Mandarin speakers (L1 tone language), English speakers (L1 non-tone language), English speakers who are intermediate Mandarin learners (L1 non-tone, L2 tone experience). Results suggest that both L1 and L2 prosodic experiences shape the perception and production of a new tone system. Mandarin learners outperform native Mandarin speakers in discrimination and imitation of Cantonese tones. Non-native perception and production abilities are positively linked for speakers with tone experience in either a first or a second language, while no correlation is found with English monolinguals.

Open access: https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/194205

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University