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L2 Inflectional Morphology and Prosody: The Case of L1 Bengali Speakers of L2 English

Ingham, Jacqueline (2019) L2 Inflectional Morphology and Prosody: The Case of L1 Bengali Speakers of L2 English. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This study is set in the context of the persistent omission of functional morphology by adult second language speakers, which often remains in evidence at high levels of proficiency and end-state grammars. The aim of this thesis is to examine the spoken suppliance of inflectional morphology by adult first language speakers of Bengali, as spoken in and around Dhaka, Bangladesh, and to do so in the phonological framework of the Prosodic Transfer Hypothesis. An initial analysis of the prosodic representation of Bengali inflectional morphology, in contrast to that in English, finds that the acquisition task for Bengali speakers should, on the one hand, be facilitated according to the availability of required second language prosodic representation to transfer to the interlanguage grammar. On the other, however, a mismatch is found between the minimality requirements of the prosodic word and the moraic structure below the level of the prosodic word. A small group of learners from beginner to advanced participated in a semi-spontaneous elicitation task, grammaticality judgement test and elicited imitation task. The data were analysed for evidence of suppliance of inflection (in accordance with the Prosodic Transfer Hypothesis) and for signs of transfer of Bengali minimality requirements and subsequent repair on English 'sub-minimal' stems. The results of the experiments in this study found that by advanced proficiency, first language Bengali speakers appeared to reap the benefits of transfer of first language prosodic representation. However, though observation of suppliance rates on different stem types during the developmental stages may at first not seem to support the outcome, depending upon the interpretation of the strong and weak versions of the Prosodic Transfer Hypothesis, asymmetrical suppliance rates at lower levels may, in part, be phonologically influenced by the availability of the required prosodic representation and adjustment to the moraic structure of the second language.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: prosodic transfer, inflectional morphology, L1 Bengali speakers of L2 English
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Jacqueline Ingham
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 09:56
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2020 09:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25565

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