Linguistics in the Netherlands 2012
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


A non-native accent in a second language is usually not restricted to the segmental domain — consonants and vowels — but is also noticeable in the suprasegmental domain, which includes phenomena such as word stress and sentence accent. The central question in this paper is whether advanced non-native speakers of Dutch produce pitch accent errors as a result of deaccentuation of given information in ‘verum focus’ sentences (‘… but I don’t READ books’). We expected the correct position of the pitch accent to be problematic for speakers with a non-Germanic mother tongue (L1) as compared to speakers with a Germanic L1. Non-native speakers of Dutch with Hungarian or German as L1 and a control group of native Dutch speakers read aloud a text containing a number of verum focus sentences. The results reveal that the Hungarian speakers tend to focus the negation, while the German speakers of Dutch as a second language highlight the finite verb, just as the native speakers do.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): deaccentuation; Dutch; focus; L2 prosody; pitch accent; second language acquisition
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