Mennen, Ineke (2004) Bi-directional interference in the intonation of Dutch speakers of Greek. Journal of Phonetics, 32 (4). pp. 543-563. ISSN 0095-4470
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2004.02.002
This study examines how speakers who are fluent in (Modern) Greek and Dutch realize cross-linguistic differences in the timing of a phonologically identical rise. Greek and Dutch share the same phonological structure in nonfinal or prenuclear rises. However, the rise is realized in different ways: Firstly, it is timed differently, with an earlier peak in Dutch than in Greek. Secondly, in Dutch the peak timing is influenced by the phonological length of the vowel of accented syllables (i.e., it is earlier when the vowel is long, and later when it is short), whereas no such influence exists in Greek. Two experiments compared the production of peak alignment by Dutch non-native speakers of Greek with that of a native Dutch and a native Greek control group. Evidence was found for bi-directional interference in four out of the five speakers who produced peak alignment which differed from the native control groups in both languages. The fifth speaker managed to produce peak alignment with native-like values in both the L1 and L2. These results mirror findings of bi-directional interference at the segmental level, although the nature of the intonational interference appears different than segmental interference. The results suggest that it is difficult—although not impossible—to realize the full set of tonal phones necessary to maintain contrast both within as well as across languages.
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