Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Native Intuitions of Speakers of a Lexical Accent System in L2 Acquisition of Stress: The Case of Russian Learners of Polish

Anna Kijak

Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Native speakers of a lexical accent system (Russians) were tested on their second language (L2) acquisition of a phonological stress system (Polish). In Russian, a sizeable part of the lexicon is underlyingly marked for accents and claims on the position of default stress vary. This makes it interesting to investigate which L1 characteristics (distribution of lexical accents vs. phonological default) are transferred to L2 (if any). 35 Russian subjects were tested on their L2 production of Polish stress. The data shows a very consistent and almost uniform pattern of mistakes: the stem-final position. These results mirror one of the claims on the default stress in Russian suggesting that L2 errors originated from L1 transfer of that default. L1 transfer generally did not reflect the distribution of all lexical accent positions (though the latter were not completely excluded, they were restricted in their type). Results on the individual level show that various subjects possibly followed two alternative L2 learning paths.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kijak, Anna (2006): "Native intuitions of speakers of a lexical accent system in L2 acquisition of stress: the case of Russian learners of Polish", In SP-2006, paper 144.