Belfast Intonation in L2 speech

Christiane Ulbrich, University of Ulster

The present paper investigates the production and perception of rising intonation patterns in first language (L1) speakers of Belfast English and native German learners of English with and without previous exposure to the Belfast variety of English (BfE). It has been shown in previous investigations that in Northern Standard German (NSG) predominantly falling nuclear pitch patterns are found in declaratives whereas in Swiss German (SG) and BfE mainly rising pitch patterns were found in nuclear position of declaratives. The present paper addresses the question if rising pitch patterns produced by SG speakers are transferred into their L2 and if so, do cross-language similarities between native language and the variety of the target language result in different ratings of foreign accent compared to NSG speakers. Thus two issues are addressed: (i) target association vs. target alignment and (ii) the effect of cross-varietal differences in L1 on the success of L2 acquisition.