head of the lab
Speech and Music Laboratory
FK III Linguistic and Cultural Studies
Carl von Ossietzky University
Ammerländer Heerstr. 114-118, 26111 Oldenburg
Room: A6 2-201 & A6 2-202 (Campus Map)
The aim of the study is to examine whether strategy instruction with an app can help enhance fluency of anxious L2 learners by raising their awareness about different aspects of fluency and teaching them fluency strategies. Through the app Reppen, strategies are offered, practiced and feedback is provided.
The expectation is that the training will increase participants' fluency and decrease their speaking anxiety. Three different groups will be compared: two experimental groups and one control group. The participants in this study are Gymnasium students (L1 German) with at least level B1 (GeR).
Perception of non-native speech sounds is often a challenge, especially if the non-native sound is similar to another one that is part of the native language. In that case, the non-native sound will typically be perceptually assimilated to the native category. However, not much is known yet about how people with impaired hearing perceive non-native speech and how they can acquire non-native sound categories. Thus, in this project, native English speakers will be presented with the German vowels /y/ and /ø/ in either clear speech or in a noise condition in order to simulate a hearing impairment. This way, it can be examined which vowels they confuse the German /y/ and /ø/ with. In later stages of the project, it will be examined whether listeners are able to use a learning bias for vowel harmony to their advantage to form new vowel categories and in doing so improve their vowel discrimination abilities even in adverse listening conditions.
One of the most controversial questions in German phonology deals with the merger of the phonemes /εː/ (as in Bären, Säle) and /eː/ (as in Beeren, Seele) in Standard German and especially in northern Germany.
However, it is unclear as to whether this postulated merger is indeed a complete merger or a near-merger. A near-merger is a perceptual merger while the speakers simultaneously retain a distinction in production.
This dissertation aims to empirically investigate the production as well as the auditory and neural perception of both phonemes. To this end, I will conduct three studies. Study I is an acoustic analysis of an existing corpus of spoken German that contains data from the whole German-speaking area. Thus, it is suited for variationist sociolinguistic analyses. In Study II, I will analyze the production and the auditory perception of both phonemes in one experiment. In Study III, I will conduct a neurophonetic experiment. Thus, the dissertation will offer a comprehensive study using a multi-methodological approach, taking into account various factors that influence the production and perception.
Andreas Hiemstra works on grammatical cross-linguistic influence (CLI) between closely related languages (German, English & Dutch) in third language acquisition. Moreover, he is interested in the consequences of CLI for, on the one hand, the debate on the organisation of linguistic knowledge in the memory system and, on the other hand, foreign language teaching. His work at the Speech and Music Lab at Oldenburg University focusses on experimental work (e. g. self-paced reading and grammaticality judgement tasks).
Marijke De Belder works on morphology (i.e. word-formation) and its interfaces. Within the framework of Distributed Morphology, she has published on various morphosyntactic and morphophonological subjects, including the morphosyntax of nouns and verbs, derivation, compounding and allomorphy. Her work at the Speech and Music Lab at Oldenburg University focuses on morphophonological experimental work.
My research is located on the intersection of syntax and processing. I investigate constructions that are difficult to process and/or are considered to be ungrammatical. The type of constructions that I typically focus on are those involving ‘movement’, in other words, non-canonical word orders in which certain constituents are displaced. Movement is constrained in several ways: some constituents are easier to move than others (asymmetries) and movement can be blocked in various ways (intervention). I aim to find out to what extent these phenomena are due to autonomous grammatical constraints or whether they can be attributed to processing factors such as working memory constraints or garden-path effects. I also take into account usage factors like frequency effects and diachronic changes. I take a comparative approach in investigating these issues, focusing on the languages Dutch, German and English.