16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Dresden, Germany
September 6-10, 2015

Prosodic Phrasing Unique to the Acquisition of L2 Intonation — An Analysis of L2 Japanese Intonation by L1 Swedish Learners

Yasuko Nagano-Madsen

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

This paper examines the prosodic organization of L2 Japanese produced by L1 Swedish at the beginner level. Japanese and Swedish have been well studied for their prosodic structures and some well-defined prosodic phrases have been proposed. However, these existing prosodic phrases are found to be inadequate in analyzing L2 intonation seen as interlanguage. Instead, it consists of some unique phrasing showing the characteristics of interlanguage, i.e. a language that has its own system and it changes continuously during the acquisition process. Studies on interlanguage are mostly on grammar and not much is known about the acquisition of L2 intonation. The results reveal that the beginner level L2 intonation is characterized by many pauses that are inserted at every grammatical phrase boundary. Such a phasing is unique as interlanguage and presumably universal in the less fluent speech at the beginner level. While a typical prosodic phrasing in Japanese uses downstep to group APs to iPs, a typical phrasing in L2 Japanese produced by L1 Swedish uses upstep and some other patterns instead. They are considered to be L1 prosodic transfer.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Nagano-Madsen, Yasuko (2015): "Prosodic phrasing unique to the acquisition of L2 intonation — an analysis of L2 Japanese intonation by L1 Swedish learners", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 820-823.