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Title:Production and perception of liaison by Anglophone learners of French
Author(s):Garrison, Meryl D.
Advisor(s):Tremblay, Annie
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
optional liaison
second language acquisition
L2 French
Abstract:This thesis investigates the production and perception of optional liaison consonants by Anglophone learners of French. While second/foreign language (L2) phonology has long been recognized as an area of learner difficulty, there have been few studies on the acquisition of liaison by L2 learners of French. The two studies contained in this thesis hope to expand our understanding of liaison as it is acquired by L2 learners. Study 1 is a production study that determines the morphosyntactic, phonemic, and prosodic contexts in which native and non-native French speakers produced optional liaison. Both groups were found that to produce liaison more frequently between a noun and its adjective than between two verbs, and only native speakers demonstrated a prosodic effect of the syllable count of the word triggering liaison. Interestingly, the results also show that L2 learners had a tendency to mark nominal plurality with /t/ in liaison contexts, indicating awareness of plural morphology and liaison, but difficulties with phonemic choice. Study 2 aimed to determine if L2 learners of French are able to make use of acoustic-phonetic cues in order to resolve syllable-misaligned words involving true or potential liaison consonants. The participants were asked to differentiate between liaison- and consonant-initial words in ambiguous contexts. The results indicate that L2 learners were more sensitive than native speakers to these acoustic-phonetic cues when disambiguating resyllabified words. These learners also tended to over-anticipate liaison in ambiguous contexts, whereas native speakers did the opposite—they preferred a consonant-initial interpretation of the second word. The implications of these findings for L2 acquisition theories will be discussed.
Issue Date:2010-05-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Meryl D. Garrison
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-19
Date Deposited:May 2010

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