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Boundary tones in non-native speech: The transfer of pragmatic strategies from L1 Swedish into L2 Spanish
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2014 (English)In: Intercultural Pragmatics, ISSN 1612-295X, Vol. 11, no 2, 159-198 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The pragmatic functions of pitch at tone unit boundaries are studied in L2 Spanish spoken by Swedish learners, as compared to L1 Swedish and L1 Spanish. The data are recordings of a task in which the subjects - 10 learners of Spanish and 13 native controls - make a restaurant booking on the phone in Spanish, and the Swedish subjects also perform this task in their L1. The tone unit boundary rises and falls produced have been analyzed with special focus on rises and their accompanying vowel duration patterns. The turn-regulating functions of signaling turn-continuation vs. transition-relevance are contrasted with intersubjectivity-regulating signals, namely (non-) prompts for information and ( non-) prompts for interpersonal acceptance. Since open-ended yes/no-questions are signaled by rises in Spanish, though not in Swedish, and since declaratives carrying a positive politeness value tend to end in rises (the "tail flick") in Swedish, though not in Spanish, various types of potential negative transfer could be predicted for Swedish learners' L2 Spanish. It is shown that L1 Spanish speakers consistently use moderate rises for turn-keeping and high rises for information-seeking, and that this pattern has no equivalence in the L2 Spanish data. Conversely, rises in L2 Spanish frequently occur where L1 Spanish speakers prefer falls. These rises, interpreted as "tail flicks,"also occur in L1 Swedish, but they are far more frequent in the L2 Spanish data. Thus, clear transfer patterns are found, which are further reinforced by - insecurity effects due to L2 speaking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 11, no 2, 159-198 p.
Keyword [en]
second language acquisition, pragmatics of prosody, prosodic transfer, intersubjectivity, boundary tones
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-91145DOI: 10.1515/ip-2014-0008ISI: 000337112400001OAI: diva2:734412
Available from: 2014-07-17 Created: 2014-07-15 Last updated: 2015-09-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Efectos pragmáticos de transferencias prosódicas del sueco al español L2: implicaciones para la clase de español lengua extranjera
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efectos pragmáticos de transferencias prosódicas del sueco al español L2: implicaciones para la clase de español lengua extranjera
2015 (Spanish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [es]

La presente tesis tiene por objetivo identificar para la enseñanza del español una serie de características prosódicas que son comunicativamente importantes. El trabajo también se propone poner de relieve el papel central de la prosodia en la comunicación, así como la necesidad de incorporar esta destreza en las competencias comunicativas de la enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras. La tesis integra una colección de cinco estudios, tres de los cuales realizados con un enfoque empírico experimental y dedicados a los temas siguientes: (a) las diferencias en la realización de prominencia prosódica por parte de hablantes de español L2 y español L1 (Estudio I), (b) la transferencia de estrategias pragmáticas del sueco L1 al español L2, manifestada en la realización de los tonos de frontera ascendentes (Estudio II), y (c) la contribución de rasgos prosódicos al acento extranjero percibido en hablantes suecos de español L2 con especial atención al rol desempeñado por los tonos de frontera ascendentes y sus correspondientes valores pragmáticos (Estudio III). El objetivo de estos tres estudios es, por un lado, identificar cuáles son las características prosódicas más importantes para conseguir una interacción exitosa en la L2 y, por el otro, investigar en qué medida estas características han sido adquiridas por los aprendientes investigados. Estudio IV resalta que, a pesar del enfoque comunicativo en la enseñanza LE, se abordan los aspectos suprasegmentales en el currículo sueco así como en los cinco libros de enseñanza E/LE analizados como una competencia aislada que no está integrada en la competencia comunicativa. El Estudio V, al combinar los resultados de los Estudios I-III con los de otros estudios temáticamente relevantes, busca identificar unas características principales, unos Core Prosodic Features, para la enseñanza de la prosodia española a los aprendientes suecos. El estudio recomienda un enfoque basado en la atención a la forma para la enseñanza de estas características en contextos interaccionales.

Abstract [en]

This thesis sets out to identify a series of communicatively important prosodic features for the teaching of Spanish in a Swedish context. The present work also aims to highlight both the central role played by prosody in communication and the need for this skill to be integrated in the communicative competences of second language teaching and learning. The thesis comprises a collection of five studies, three of which use an experimental approach to investigate the following: (a) differences in the realization of prosodic prominence by L2 and L1 speakers of Spanish (Study I); (b) the transfer of pragmatic strategies from L1 Swedish to L2 Spanish, manifested in the realization of rising boundary tones (Study II); and (c) the contribution of the type of L2 prosody displayed by Swedish learners to a percieved foreign accent, focusing, focusing especially on the role played by rising boundary tones and their pragmatic values  (Study III). These initial studies describe some of the main prosodic characteristics of the L2 product as compared to Spanish L1, and identify prosodic features of Spanish L1 that are of importance to acquire for interactional success in the L2. Study IV highlights the fact that, despite the emphasis on a communicative approach in L2 teaching, the approach to the teaching of prosody in the Swedish curriculum and the L2 Spanish text books studied tends to be addressed as a separate skill, that is not integrated in the descriptions of the communicative competences. Study V, by combining the results of Studies I-III with those of other thematically relevant studies, proposes some main features, so-called Core Prosodic Features (CPFs), for the teaching of Spanish prosody to Swedish learners. The identification of the CPFs also enables a future evaluation of the form-focused teaching approach suggested.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2015. 58 p.
Umeå studies in language and literature, 30
prosody, L2 acquisition, sociopragmatic interacctional perspective, phonetics, L2 teaching and learning, form-focused interacctional approach
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
language teaching and learning
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107725 (URN)978-91-7601-279-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-06, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-09-15 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved

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