The phonetics of intonation in learner varieties of French
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This dissertation presents a phonetic analysis of intonation in second language French spoken by native speakers of American English. After reviewing methodological gaps in contemporary intonation research, it presents two methods for analyzing L2 intonation, one based on mean speaker values for pitch range and span, and the other based on the Tilt model of intonation. The second method is based on a hidden Markov model (HMM)-based intonational variety classifier that offers an objective and rigorous way for evaluating the similarity of native and non-native pitch contours. Results from both analyses suggest that while learners are capable of improving certain aspects of their L2 intonation, full acquisition is unlikely, even given the application of non-traditional pedagogical methods, such as, in the case of this study, a study abroad experience. The data also suggest that phonological and phonetic transfer from the L1 is responsible for many of the learners’ errors in the L2, contradicting the learner variety hypothesis (LVH), which broadly states that learner varieties of intonation are distinct from their related L1 varieties.