Candidate: Kathleen Brannen
Title: The perception and production of interdental fricatives in second-language acquisition
Time: Friday 11/18, 10:15
Place: Wilson Hall, Rm 110

This dissertation investigates the differential substitution of interdental fricatives by learners of L2 English. Differential substitution occurs when learners from different L1 backgrounds, whose native inventories do not include [θ,ð], substitute different segments in their place: either [t,d], [s,z], or [f,v]. Most previous approaches to this problem have focused on structural differences between the contrastive L1 phonemic systems. This thesis examines two languages and two dialects of the same language: Japanese, Russian, European French, and Québec French. Japanese and European French are known to substitute [s,z], while for Québec French and Russian, [t,d] are reported. Since European and Québec French arguably have the same phonemic obstruent inventory, this thesis explores the function of non-contrastive phonetic information in interdental substitution, in both perception and production. It is hypothesized that perception underlies production, such that those errors observed in production will be the sounds that are apt to be perceptually associated with the target. Furthermore, it is considered that non-contrastive features play a determining role in transfer. In particular, the feature strident is hypothesized to be key in the choice of interdental substitute.