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Effects of Learning Strategies on Perception of L2 Intonation Patterns

Abstract

This paper examines the role that learning strategies play in L2 acquisition by comparing students learning French in a Second Language Acquisition (SLA) or immersion setting and those learning French in a Foreign Language Acquisition (FLA) or classroom setting. These students were tested on their ability to distinguish common French rising intonation patterns, the polar question and the continuation rise, by their conversational significations. After hearing a sentence that had been manipulated by the researcher to follow a standardized contour that matched either the polar question or continuation rise, the subjects were asked to judge whether the sentence ended the speaker’s turn or instead whether the speaker had not finished speaking. Since unfinished speech is characteristic of the continuation and not of the polar question, this allowed the researcher to determine the subjects’ ability to identify the two similar patterns. The FLA students outperformed the SLA students by a small margin in identification of both patterns, suggesting that perception of L2 intonation is not improved by immersive learning contexts.

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