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Romance Languages

Multilingualism and Language Acquisition

Edited By Anna Gudmundson, Laura Álvarez López and Camilla Bardel

This volume contains a collection of papers that deal with Romance linguistics from two broad perspectives: multilingualism and language acquisition. Some of the contributions investigate these phenomena in the light of language contact, language attitudes and code switching in multilingual societies or multilingual families. Others focus on the acquisition of rhythmic patterns, intonation or even emotions in a second language. Many of the contributions present themes related to oral production or speech. The book in itself is multilingual and includes papers written in Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English.

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Rhythmic Differences in L2 Italian (Marilisa Vitale / Anna De Meo)


Marilisa Vitale, Anna De Meo,

Rhythmic Differences in L2 Italian

Abstract: In terms of rhythm, languages are traditionally divided into three groups: syllable-timed, stress-timed and mora-timed languages. This study aims at verifying whether these rhythmic differences can influence the learning outcome of an L2 and whether belonging to the same rhythm-group can favour the acquisition process of the L2 rhythmic pattern.

1. Introduction

The majority of studies produced within the framework of language acquisition research has mainly been devoted to the analysis of problems related to pronunciation, grammar, and lexicon (for a recent review, see Herschensohn & Young-Scholten, 2013; for L2 Italian, see Giacalone Ramat, 2003). As for pronunciation, attention has been largely paid to the segmental anomalies typically characterizing second language speech (see Flege, Bohn & Jang, 1997; Flege, Munro & MacKay, 1995; Flege, 2003; Strange & Shafer, 2008; Zampini, 2008; Arabski & Wojtaszek, 2011) and to those factors which may favour or affect the acquisition of the target language phonology (see Birdsong, 1999; Ioup, 2008; Major, 2008; Hansen Edwards, 2008). In this respect, the main theoretical models developed to explain L2 speech production and perception, i.e. the Speech Learning Model by Flege (1995), the Perceptual Assimilation Model by Best (1995) and the Ontogeny Phylogeny Model by Major (2001), have taken into consideration the segmental level of language and have given an account of phonetic transfer phenomena.

The prosodic level of speech analysis,...

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