The acquisition of stress in Québec French: a case study

Noel, Ashleigh (2009) The acquisition of stress in Québec French: a case study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In this thesis, I investigate the development of stress in EL's speech. EL is a first language learner of Quebec French. I examine this young child's productions of the three typologically most prominent correlates of stress (fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration) from the age of 1;01.7 to 2;04.17. Building on this acoustic investigation, I propose three formal stages in the development of her stress system. -- My proposal is based on systematic comparisons between final and penultimate syllables in declarative utterances, expressed in terms of calculated ratios which offer a measure of relative prominence for each of the three cues under investigation. I illustrate that the child uses duration as her main cue to mark stress. This mirrors the target stress system. However, at early ages, the child also appears to use fundamental frequency to mark stress, in a way that departs from the target system. Observations such as this are one of the considerations that compel me to develop stages of stress acquisition in the formal proposal. I also consider the variation in the data, which takes the form of relatively high positive and negative ratios. I examine these values and account for them through identification of various influences on the child's speech. Finally, I extend my acoustic study to incorporate one further influence, that of phonological compensatory lengthening, which also affects duration ratios.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9340
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 80-83)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Quebec (Province)
Library of Congress Subject Heading: French language--Accents and accentuation; French language--Phonology; French language--Study and teaching--Quebec (Province); Grammar, Comparative and general--Syllable

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