L2 Spanish Intonation in a Short-Term Study Abroad Program

Authored by: Méndez Seijas Jorge

The Routledge Handbook of Study Abroad Research and Practice

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138192393
eBook ISBN: 9781315639970
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315639970-6

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Abstract

Intonation has garnered increasing attention in the last few decades. This interest is not unwarranted: Through intonation, speakers convey linguistic (e.g., utterance type) and paralinguistic (e.g., irony, happiness) information. In second language (L2) speech, intonation has an added weight because the inability to produce language- specific prosodic features affects comprehensibility and foreign-accentedness (Munro & Derwing, 1995). Research on intonation has grown alongside new technologies that allow for fine-grained analyses of phonetic detail as well as formal frameworks that have made descriptions of prosodic systems possible. Moreover, recent models of L2 intonation, such as the L2 Intonational Learning Theory (LILt: Mennen, 2015), may help make thorough analyses, predictions, and interpretations. Most L2 Spanish intonation data have been collected from native English speakers (L1 English) learning Spanish in study abroad (SA) programs (Craft, 2015; Henriksen, Geeslin, & Willis, 2010; Thornberry, 2014; Trimble, 2013). Data collected in SA contexts are ideal for L2 research because learners are exposed mostly to one dialect and thus to more homogenous intonation. This is a significant asset because intonation varies greatly from region to region (for geolectal descriptions, see Prieto & Roseano, 2010) and, potentially, even from classroom to classroom.

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