Els universals lingüístics i el marcatge en l’ensenyament de la pronunciació del català com a llengua estrangera


  • Francesc Torres-Tamarit CNRS-UNIVERSITÉ PARIS 8
  • Maria del Mar Vanrell Bosch University of the Balearic Islands


This paper explores how language universals and typological markedness can contribute to the process of teaching and learning the vowel system and the intonational phonology of Catalan as a second language. When compared to the languages with which Catalan is in contact, we conclude that its relative typological markedness is moderate. We further identify areas of difficulty for learners: the contrast between open- and close-mid vowels, the production of schwa, and the slight majority presence of high or rising pitch accents and of yes-no questions with falling intonation. These results can have important implications for teaching and learning Catalan pronunciation. The first implication can be applied to the design of curricula, and hinges upon the order of acquisition of structures: the least marked structure should be first introduced. The second implication has to do with the direction of linguistic generalizations during acquisition, and can be applied to the explicit teaching of structures in which there is an implicational relationship between them.Finally, we highlight the need to gather evidence to either support or falsify the hypotheses formulated from the typological markedness approach to second language acquisition defended in this paper.


language universals, typological markedness, Catalan, vocalism, intonation, didactic intervention


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Author Biographies

Francesc Torres-Tamarit, CNRS-UNIVERSITÉ PARIS 8

Francesc Torres-Tamarit obtained his PhD in Cognitive Science and Language in 2012 at the UAB. Since 2015, he is a CNRS/Paris 8 researcher at the laboratory Structures Formelles du Langage. His research interests lie in the field of theoretical phonology, particularly metrical and prosodic phonology. He addresses these topics using the tools developed in formal linguistics, in particular constraint-based grammars. Empirically, he mainly, although not solely, focuses on Romance languages, especially endangered and minoritized varieties. At present he serves as coeditor of Linguistic Inquiry Squibs and Discussion (MIT Press)

Maria del Mar Vanrell Bosch, University of the Balearic Islands

Maria del Mar Vanrell is an assistant professor at the Departament de Filologia Catalana i Lingüística General of the Universitat de les Illes Balears and director of the research group GRESIB (Research Group on Sociolinguistics in the Balearic Islands). Her research activity spans several fields: prosody-syntax and prosody-pragmatics interfaces, first and second acquisition of these interfaces, and language variation. Her research has been published in journals such as Language & Speech, Probus, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, Linguistics, Speech Communication and Journal of Phonetics. In 2010 she received the Best Student Paper award at Speech Prosody 2010 (Chicago, USA).




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