Amanda Post da Silveira, Thursday 05 December, 4.00-5 pm

Maltese speakers of English – bilingualism or L2? An eye-tracking experiment testing the allophonic /t/ – /Ө/ representation of “th” in Maltese English

This study was done in collaboration with Prof. Holger Mitterer (Malta University) as result of my training in eye-tracking techniques applied to the investigation of (second) language acquisition and processing. English is one of the official languages in Malta for about 150 years and the natives from the island are understood to be Maltese-English bilinguals. However, some orthographic and phonological processes in Maltese English distinguish it from standard British English. Our main question is: is British English an L2 or a dialect for Maltese speakers? In order to start a range of investigations on this matter, we selected a clear grapheme-to-phoneme transfer in Maltese English: the realization of orthographic “th”, which seems to be allophonic between /t/ and / Ө/. Based on evidence from our eye-tracking – visual world paradigm – experiment and a production experiment, we observed that most Maltese English speakers (Maltese-English bilinguals) do not produce or perceive the distinction /t/ and /Ө/, independently of their English proficiency. These results add evidence to characterize the English variety spoken in Malta as a distinct English dialect.

Nanda Ernanda, Tuesday 26 November, 4.00-5 pm

The Phrasal Alternation in the Pondok Tinggi Dialect of Kerinci across two Generations

 The Kerinci “language”, spoken in Jambi province of Sumatra, Indonesia, is a complex of many dialects. Although obviously belonging to the Malay subgroup, Kerinci dialects differ markedly from other Malay varieties. The most salient and typical features of Kerinci is the morphological phenomenon, termed phrasal alternation, whereby nearly all lexical roots have two distinct forms differing in the rhyme of their final syllable.

This study examines the use of phrasal alternation across generations in one variety of Kerinci, namely the vernacular of the village of Pondok Tinggi (PT). Two age groups of the native speakers of PT participated in this study. The results show that the way the older speakers speak differs from that of the younger speakers. The language is indeed changing.