Prosody in Turkish learners of German as a Foreign Language

Sabine Zerbian, Jane Kühn, Christoph Schroeder, Svenja Schuermann


Results of a pilot study are reported which investigates the prosodic realization of information structure by six learners of German as a Foreign Language (GFL) with Turkish as first language. Question-answer pairs were read out loud which systematically varied the position of narrow focus in the response by means of a preceding wh-question. A qualitative analysis of the results shows deaccentuation of postfocal constituents in the case of subject focus for 4/6 GFL speakers but no consistent pitch increase on focused constituents. Two speakers did not change prosody due to information structure. The results are discussed in connection with the acquisition of prosody as a marker of information structure. Deaccentuation has been reported to cause problems in L2 prosody. In Turkish, deaccentuation occurs postfocally. The claim will be motivated that the occurrence of deaccentuation in the L1 is a necessary but not sufficient condition for early acquisition of deaccentuation in a foreign language.


Cite as: Zerbian, S., Kühn, J., Schroeder, C., Schuermann, S. (2014) Prosody in Turkish learners of German as a Foreign Language. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 265-259.


@inproceedings{Zerbian2014,
  author={Sabine Zerbian and Jane Kühn and Christoph Schroeder and Svenja Schuermann},
  title={{Prosody in Turkish learners of German as a Foreign Language}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={265--259}
}