Studies from German-speaking Europe
Edited By Adrian Leemann, Marie-José Kolly, Stephan Schmid and Volker Dellwo
Development of timing patterns in second language acquisition: A cross-linguistic study
The study examines the development of timing control in second language (L2) acquisition in two populations of language learners from rhythmically different first language (L1) backgrounds. Timing control was investigated using interval-based rhythm metrics. We analyzed speech produced by French and German learners of English who varied in their proficiency in the L2. We found that German and French speakers of English differ in their phonetic implementation of timing. German learners exhibit a higher degree of durational variability in English compared to French learners. Regardless of the detected differences, our results show similarities in the development of timing patterns: In both groups of learners a noticeable trend towards higher degree of durational variability as a function of proficiency has been found. The developmental changes in L2 acquisition mirror those happening in L1 acquisition, and recapitulate some diachronic changes in language evolution. Therefore we believe that speech timing development should be studied not only from an ontogenetic, but also a phylogenetic perspective.
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