Polish-accented French prosody in perception and production: transfer or universal acquisition process?

Anna Kaglik, UMR7023 Universit├ę Paris 8
Philippe Boula de Mare├╝il, LIMSI-CNRS

This study addresses the mastery of prosody in French second language (L2) from the twofold point of view of perception and production. Speech samples from Polish learners, late and early bilinguals were examined. Their native-likeness was assessed by experts in prosody on both the original signal and suggest that the acquisition of the L2 prosody is not constrained by the age of first exposure to the L2 as is the acquisition of segments. Yet, intonational breaks may result in an impression of jerky utterances interpreted as non-native. This phenomenon could be attributed to a prosodic transfer, but a comparison with French and Polish monolinguals suggests that overemphasis observed in L2 is better explained by difficulties in managing the structural aspects of discourse organisation as long as the production process remains costly. Index Terms: mastery of L2 prosody, second language acquisition, structural organisation, accent perception.