Representations and transfer processes in L2 speech production: Evidence from Catalan learners of English
Cortés Pomacóndor, Susana María
The present thesis examines L1 transfer in L2 production. This thesis investigates the possible role in L2 speech production of 1) various types of sound representations (underlying and surface segments), their mappings to L2 sound categories and their phonetic realisation 2) speech perception and 3) the effect of the morphological composition of L2 words. The advanced Catalan learners of English, who served as subjects in the study, displayed more accuracy in their production of target English /d/ and // in contexts where they surface in Catalan than in the production of /d/ in intervocalic position and // in initial position. Their perceptual identification of target /d/ and // in both initial and intervocalic position could not predict their production. However, these findings could be accounted for by positing the transfer of L1 underlying segments as well as an L1 underlying to surface realisation mechanism onto the L2 system. The replication of a study by Eckman and Iverson (1997) on the role played by morphology in L2 speech production shows that L2 speakers’ production of /d/ does not depend on whether the lexical items are derived or non-derived. Overall, the findings in the different experiments display the possibility of predicting transfer in L2 production based on L1 surface realisation patterns. Results are discussed in terms of traditional Generative Phonology, as well as Optimality and Exemplar Theories.