Prosodic Transfer: an event-related potentials approach
This study investigates the possible electrophysiological evidence of the influence of L1 prosodic structure on a speaker’s second language, specifically in the context of the Prosodic Transfer Hypothesis of Goad & White (2004, 2009), with Turkish as the L1 and English as the L2. Turkish prosodic structure differs from English in its treatment of articles in ways that suggest that Turkish articles are affixal clitics whereas English articles are free clitics. Crucially, it follows that a correct English article-adjective-noun sequence violates Turkish prosody, since adjectives cannot intervene between articles and noun heads in Turkish, and therefore that Turkish speakers will be unable to correctly prosodify the sequence. Behavioural production evidence – in which Turkish speakers delete, substitute, or stress the English article in asymmetrical ways predictable by prosodic structure – robustly supports this claim. The current experiment uses ERP recording to elucidate the online processing of Turkish speakers hearing English sentences that either do or do not violate Turkish prosodic structure, with the aim of demonstrating real-time neural responses to L1-L2 prosodic mismatch.