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Elicited Imitation In Search Of The Influence Of Linguistic Rhythm On Child L2 Acquisition

Dorota E. Campfield, Victoria A. Murphy
Published 2014 · Psychology

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Abstract Rhythmic input is frequently employed in second language (L2) instruction. Empirically, however, the link between L2 rhythm and acquisition has not been established. This paper investigated the influence of L2 prosody on child language learning in a controlled study. Theoretical framework for the study was provided by ‘prosodic bootstrapping hypothesis’, proposed for first language acquisition. Eighty Polish children with the mean age of 8 years and 4 months were randomly assigned to either treatment, comparison and control groups. Treatment and comparison groups were taught using specially designed materials with the treatment group exposed to salient linguistic rhythm. The findings established a clear link between implicit L2 acquisition and prosody demonstrating that ‘prosodic bootstrapping hypothesis’ has a role to play in L2. The findings suggest that more classroom focus on continuous speech, rich in salient prosodic L2 features and delivered at whole-text level is important in developing child L2 knowledge.
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