Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

How Do Pauses Reveal Linguistic Plans by L2 Learners of Chinese?

Bei Yang

Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

This study explores L2 learners' linguistic plans through silent and filled pauses, such as “uh”. Seven native speakers and seven American learners of Chinese participated in this study. They produced speech naturally on pre-provided topics. One minute and fifteen seconds of speech on a single topic produced by each participant was used for analysis in the present research. First, the distribution of pauses was calculated. Then a qualitative analysis of the L2 learners' speech data was conducted. The results indicate that most chunks that native speakers plan ahead of time are larger than those that L2 learners do. The combinations of silent and filled pauses, and combinations of pauses and other prosodic features provide additional time for L2 learners to plan their speech and to make their speech more natural. During the first-time planning or self-monitoring, L2 learners spend much more time on planning chunks that only involve a single linguistic entry.

Index Terms: L2 acquisition, production, psycholinguistics

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yang, Bei (2012): "How do pauses reveal linguistic plans by L2 learners of Chinese?", In SP-2012, 390-393.