Within a variationist approach to second language acquisition, this study examines the effects of two hypotheses for the development of English homorganic sC onset clusters in Brazilian Portuguese English: Markedness on sonority sequencing (e.g., Clements 1990), and input frequency (e.g., Bybee 2001). While the markedness hypothesis predicts that acquisition should progress from the least marked to relatively more marked structures (i.e., /sl/ > /sn/ > /st/), the distribution of these clusters in the input (the frequency hypothesis) predicts that the developmental order will be the reverse (i.e., /st/ > /sl/ > /sn/). The results of a production study support the hypothesis that it is markedness on sonority sequencing, and not input frequency, that determines the order of acquisition of sC clusters in second language speech.
Proceedings of the 9th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2007)
edited by Roumyana Slabakova, Jason Rothman, Paula Kempchinsky, and Elena Gavruseva
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