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Academic Paper

Title: Morphophonemic transfer in English second language learners
Author: Sze Wei Ping
Institution: National University of Singapore
Author: Susan J Rickard Liow
Institution: National University of Singapore
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Malay
Abstract: Malay (Rumi) is alphabetic and has a transparent, agglutinative system of affixation. We manipulated language-specific junctural phonetics in Malay and English to investigate whether morphophonemic L1-knowledge influences L2-processing. A morpheme decision task, “Does this sound like a mono- or bi-morphemic English word?”, was developed by crossing English Transitional Probability (high vs. low) with Malay Transitional Possibility (possible vs. impossible). The data for Malay-L1/English-L2 adults (N = 21) provide clear and reliable empirical evidence of L1-to-L2 morphophonemic transfer: Participants were more accurate at identifying transitional boundaries in English when they are also possible in Malay. Pedagogical implications are discussed.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 14, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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