Information status and L2 prosody

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When referring, speakers vary prosody according to the information status ofthe referent. There is some work on L2 learners’ use of prosody in encodinggiven and new information but not necessarily in the context of reference maintenance.The current study investigates how Chinese learners of Dutch use prosody(i.e. duration and pitch-related cues) in reference maintenance at differentproficiency levels (intermediate vs. advanced) in Dutch via a picture-storiesreading task. We have found that despite the similarities in Dutch and MandarinChinese in the use of prosody in reference, the intermediate learners differedfrom the advanced learners in not using duration and limited use of pitch. Wepropose an L1-transfer based account to explain this effect of proficiency.


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