Prosodic structure is integral to the felicity of an utterance, as it couples with information structure. The current study examines the connection between phrasal stress and syntax by making a cross-linguistic comparison of the prosody-focus relationship. Experimental data from second language speakers of both Spanish and English were analyzed to determine how stress is computed in their L1, and how this affects computation in their L2. Evidence of how English and Spanish differ with regards to prosody was found for a number of focus constructions; evidence from Spanish in particular (flexible word order) seems to signal a correlation between word order possibilities and intonation patterns. Results from the experiment confirmed the hypothesis of prosodic transfer, namely L2 learners transferred stress patterns from their L1 for wide and narrow-focus intransitive contexts.
Proceedings of the 9th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2007)
edited by Roumyana Slabakova, Jason Rothman, Paula Kempchinsky, and Elena Gavruseva Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-422-5 library binding
v + 284 pages
publication date: 2008
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA