Acquiring a second language during childhood: a case study of the acquisition of English by a child Kazakh speaker

Nulahan, Anaer (2023) Acquiring a second language during childhood: a case study of the acquisition of English by a child Kazakh speaker. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In this dissertation, we document a child Kazakh speaker’s acquisition of English as her second language. In particular, we focus on this child’s development of the English segments |f, v, θ, ð, ɹ, ʃ, ʧ|, and her acquisition of the English copula be, third person singular -s, and past tense -ed. We begin with detailed, longitudinal description of the developmental patterns that the child displayed through her acquisition of each of these segments and morphemes over an approximately two-year period. Building on our data descriptions, we entertain a feature-based approach to analyze the patterns observed. We analyze the child’s acquisition of English consonants by following the Phonological Interference Hypothesis by Brown (1998), as well as the feature redistribution and recombination theory by Martinez, Goad & Dow (2021).These models highlight the possibilities of maximal transfer of the L1 features, and the possibilities of feature recombination in the course of L2 acquisition. Similarly, we analyze the child’s acquisition of inflectional morphology through the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis (MSIH) by Prévost & White (2000), which highlights both the presence of syntactic features in the child’s interlanguage grammar and the difficulties inherent to the morphological expression of these features in speech. As we will see, however, feature-based analyses do not enable an account for all of the facts. The data highlights the need to consider other factors, including language-specific ‘surface’ knowledge. Concerning segmental development, we show the need to consider phonetic features, which define the precise motor articulations required in the production of speech sounds. Likewise, concerning morphological development, we show the need to consider of language-specific aspects of morphological expressions in spoken forms, in relation to the underlying syntactic knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 16028
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 245-251)
Keywords: L2 acquisition by children, Kazakh, English, phonological interference, missing surface inflection
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: May 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Second language acquisition; Language and languages--Study and teaching; English language--Phonology; Kazakh language--Phonology

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