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Sonderforschungsbereich 732:

Project A7-N (2014-2018)

Cross-linguistic interactions in second language prosody

Principal investigator:

Prof. Dr. Sabine Zerbian

Current project team members:

Dr. Rebecca Carroll (Postdoc)
Nadja Schauffler (Doctoral researcher)
Andreas Ocker (Student assistant)
Elena Hannemann (Student assistant)

Former project team members:

Dr. Meg Zellers (Postdoc)
Dr. Giuseppina Turco (Postdoc)
Nicole Stirm (Student assistant)
Sabrina Beer (Student assistant)
Yulia Zuban (Student assistant)

The project aims at contributing to our understanding of L2 prosody by investigating the production and perception of intonation for information structuring in two L2 varieties of English. The varieties under consideration are L2 English with German as L1 and Black South African English (thus, with one of the South African Bantu languages as L1).

On the one hand, the project has the descriptive goal of providing empirical data on prosody used for information structuring, contributing both to language-specific description as well as to cross-linguistic comparison. Cross-linguistic comparison is ensured by following a comparable methodological protocol in data elicitation and analysis in the varieties under investigation.

On the other hand, the project aims at modelling intonational production and processing in L2 prosody. The starting point is the recent claim that there are similarities in segmental and suprasegmental learning (Trofimovich & Baker 2006), an extension of the Speech Learning Model (SLM; Flege 1995). A basic tenet of the SLM is that new category formation, and thus ultimate attainment, is easier between phonological systems that are different from each other than between systems that are similar. Individual studies suggest, though, that this is not the case for intonation related to information structuring. Hence, the first theoretical goal of the project is to test systematically if the SLM also holds for prosody related to information structure.

Second, a model of L2 prosody will be developed, which takes phonological differences in prosodic systems into consideration. Therefore, two L2 varieties of English have been chosen in which the respective L1s have different prosodic systems: the German prosodic system is similar to English with word stress, pitch accents, deaccentuation and boundary tones, whereas South African Bantu languages have a dissimilar prosodic system with lexical and grammatical tone and only boundary tones.

Project Proposal

Publications

Quaglia, S., & Turco, G. (2015). Prosody in Italian particle verbs: A preliminary study. Proceedings from ICPhS ’15: The 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, UK: UP Glasgow.

Raborife, M., Turco, G., & Zerbian, S. (2016). The prosody of focus and emphasis in Sepedi. Proceedings from PRASA-RobMech ’16: Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa and Robotics and Mechatronics International Conference 2016. Stellenbosch, South Africa: IEEE, pp. 15-18. 

Schauffler, N., & Schweitzer, K. (2015). Rhythm influences the tonal realisation of focus. Proceedings from INTERSPEECH ’15: INTERSPEECH 2015. Dresden, Germany, pp. 963-967.

Schauffler, N., Turco, G., & Augurzky, P. (2015). Multiple contrastive accents in German production: Syntactic and rhythmic factors. Proceedings from ICPhS ’15: The 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, UK: UP Glasgow.

Turco, G., & Zerbian, S. (2018). Testing the processing advantage of linguistic focus in L1 and L2. Article under review.

Zellers, M. (2016). Prosodic convergence with spoken stimuli in laboratory data. Proceedings from INTERSPEECH ’16: INTERSPEECH 2016. San Francisco, CA, USA, pp. 1021-1025.

Zellers, M., & Schweitzer, A. (2017). An investigation of pitch matching across adjacent turns in a corpus of spontaneous German. Proceedings from INTERSPEECH ’17: INTERSPEECH 2017. Stockholm, Sweden, pp. 2336-2340.

Zerbian, S. (2015a). Prosodic marking of focus in transitive sentences in varieties of South African English. In U. Gut, R. Fuchs, & E. Wunder (Eds.) Universal or Diverse Paths to English Phonology (pp. 209-240). Berlin: De Gruyter.

Zerbian, S. (2015b). Syntactic and prosodic focus marking in contact varieties of South African English. English World-Wide, 36(2), 228–258.

Zerbian, S., Turco, G., Schauffler, N., Zellers, M., & Riester, A. (2016). Contrastive topic constituents in German. Proceedings from Speech Prosody '16: The 8th Speech Prosody. Boston, MA, USA, pp. 345-349.

Presentations & talks
05.07.2018: Zerbian, S. “Processing of intonation by South African English listeners.” International Congress of Linguistics. Cape Town, South Africa.
24.05.2018: Carroll, R., & Zerbian, S. “Processing L2 intonation contours and exhaustivity: A mouse-tracking study.” Poster presentation at the conference 2nd International Symposium on Bilingual and L2 Processing in Adults and Children (ISBPACTU). Braunschweig, Germany.
13.06.2017: Zellers, M., & Schweitzer, A. “Normalizing versus initializing cues to pitch (mis-) matching in conversation.” Poster presentation at Phonetics & Phonology in Europe. Cologne, Germany.
03.09.2016: Schauffler, N., & Augurzky, P. “Rhythm influences the processing of double-focus sentences: ERP evidence from German.” Poster presentation at the conference Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 16). Bilbao, Spain.
02.09.2016: Flaig, S., & Zerbian, S. “Rising intonation in statements of German speakers of English as a foreign language.” Poster presentation at the conference Tone and Intonation in Europe (TIE 2016). Canterbury, UK.
01.09.2016: Zellers, M., Schauffler, N., & Zerbian, S. “A cross-linguistic exploration of the intonation of contrastive topics.” Poster presentation at Tone and Intonation in Europe. Canterbury, UK.
22.03.2016: Zellers, M., Schauffler, N., & Zerbian, S. “Contrastive topics in German and English: An FDA approach.” Poster presentation at Prosody and Information Structure. Stuttgart, Germany.
11.12.2015: Schauffler, N. “The role of rhythm in the prosodic realisation of contrastive focus.” Talk at the workshop Rhythm in Language. Stuttgart, Germany.
20.10.2015: Turco, G., Schauffler, N., Zerbian, S., & Riester, A. “Speaker- and context-dependent cues in the prosodic marking of contrastive topics in German.” Poster presentation in the context of the workshop on Modeling Variability in Speech. Stuttgart, Germany.
08.10.2015: Schauffler, N. “The role of rhythm in the prosodic realisation of focus.” Poster presentation at the conference Phonetik & Phonologie im deutschsprachigen Raum. Marburg, Germany.
08.10.2015: Zerbian, S., Turco, G., Schauffler, N., & Riester, A. “Speaker- and context-dependent cues in the prosodic marking of contrastive topics in German.” Talk at the conference Phonetik und Phonologie im deutschsprachigen Raum. Marburg, Germany.
02.10.2015: Schauffler, N. “The role of rhythm in the prosodic realisation of focus.” Poster presentation in the context of the workshop on Modeling Variability in Speech. Stuttgart, Germany.
13.08.2015: Schauffler, N., Turco, G., & Augurzky, P. “Multiple contrastive accents in German production: Syntactic and rhythmic factors.” Poster presentation in the context of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS). Glasgow, UK.
02.12.2014: Schauffler, N. “Prosody-inherent factors affecting pitch accent placement - deaccentuation of foci due to pitch accent clashes.” Talk at the workshop Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on the Interrelation of Syntax, Semantics and Prosody. Cologne, Germany.
14.09.-18.09.2014: Turco, G., & Delais-Roussarie, E. “A crosslinguistic and acquisitional perspective on French intonational rises.” Talk at the 15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH). Singapore, Singapore.

Invited talks:

10.05.2017:
Zellers, M. “Phonetic, phonological, and interaction-based aspects of contrastive topic marking in German and English.” Institute for Linguistics, Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Germany.
12.01.2017: Schauffler, N. “Der Einfluss rhythmischer Präferenzen auf die prosodische Markierung von Informationsstruktur.” Institute for German Studies, University of Hamburg, Germany.
14.12.2016: Zellers, M. “Bringing multiple methods to bear on speech: experiment design and data.” Institute for Linguistics/ Phonetics, University of Cologne, Germany.
13.11.2014: Zerbian, S. “Focus marking in varieties of South African English.” University of Mannheim, Germany.
Activities
- present: Participating in Expsy, a workgroup for psycholinguists in Stuttgart, more information here.
10.01.-12.02.2018:
Testing of 57 participants with L1 American English in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Isabelle Darcy, Department of Second Language Studies, Indiana University Bloomington.
31.08.-01.09.2017: SpeechNet-Workshop "Processing Prosody across Languages, Varieties, and Nativeness" (ProPro 2017) at the university of Tübingen, more information here.
22.03.-23.03.2016: Workshop "Prosody and Information Structure" (PINS) at the University of Stuttgart, more information here.
11.12.2015: Workshop "Rhythm in Language" at the University of Stuttgart, more information here.
01.10.-02.10.2015: Workshop "Modeling Variability in Speech" at the University of Stuttgart, more information here.
03.09.-18.09.2015: Data collection, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
03.07.-16.07.2015: Guest Khutso Matlou (University of the Witwatersrand) on Sepedi phonology.
14.05.-30.06.2015: Guest John Scott (Indiana University) on an MGK-fellowship for cooperation on L2 phonology.
18.03.-23.03.2015: Data collection, pilot “Phoneme detection in Sepedi and South African Englishes,” University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
21.11.-22.11.2014: Guest Isabelle Darcy (Indiana University) in the context of the workshop “Linguistic and psycholinguistic studies in L2 phonology.”
21.11.-22.11.2014: Workshop on L2 Phonology at the University of Stuttgart; more information here.