General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 18:00 to 18:30 Oral presentation
Orthographic transparency and cognate status influence word production by Spanish-Catalan EFL learners in a classroom setting
Speaker: Lucrecia Rallo Fabra, Universitat de les Illes Balears

Authors: Lucrecia Rallo Fabra; Karen Jacob


Learning a foreign language (FL) in an educational setting implies a series of limitations relative to learning a second language (L2) in a naturalistic setting. FL learners receive limited auditory input but considerable written input. Unlike Spanish and Catalan, which are transparent languages with a very close connection between orthography and pronunciation, English is an opaque language with little connection between sound and spelling (Erdener & Burnham, 2005). This cross-linguistic difference, often triggers non-target like pronunciation by these learners. In the present study, we investigate whether the opaque nature of English is indeed a barrier for Spanish-Catalan bilinguals learning English (see Escudero, 2015 for a review). A group of intermediate EFL learners were recorded producing a corpus of cognate and non-cognate words in two different elicitation tasks: a reading aloud task and a delayed repetition task. In the reading aloud task, the target words were presented as visual prompts both in a carrier phrase and in isolation. In the delayed repetition, words were presented aurally and participants repeated them after a 2-second delay followed by and audio prompt. The words were phonetically transcribed by two transcribers and validated by a third using PHON (Rose & MacWhitney, 2015). A preliminary analysis of the results reveals that the number of errors is substantially higher in cognates than in non-cognates, suggesting that learners probably share the same lexical representations for both languages. Similarly, errors in non-cognates such as substitution of brother for border or water for weather suggest that attention to spelling might interfere with learners’ processing of the phonological forms of words (Trofimovich & McDonough, 2011). REFERENCES Erdener, D.; Burnham, D. H. (2005). The role of audio-visual speech and orthographic information in nonnative speech production. Language Learning, 55, 2, 191-228. Escudero, P. (2015). Orthography plays a limited role when learning phe phonological forms of new words: The case of Spanish and English learners of novel Dutch words. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36 (1), 7-22. Rose, Y.; Mac Whinney, B. (2015). PHON Database System for the Study of Phonetics and Phonology. Ver. 2.1.4. Computer Program. URL http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/phon/. Trofimovich, P.; McDonough, K. (2011). Applying priming methods to L2 learning, teaching and research. Insights from Psycholinguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Teaching and learning of languages
Place: Room A-15

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