Main Content

B2 - Acquisition of Middle Franconian tone accents

This project deals with the acquisition of tone accents in western German (Middle Franconian) dialects. A feature of Middle Franconian dialects is that – like in non-European tone languages – lexical tones are used to distinguish between lexical and grammatical meaning, i.e.: /dau1f/ »dove« vs. /dau2f/ »baptism«. The purpose of the project is twofold: (i) to investigate how children from these dialects acquire tone accents and (ii) to analyze how they develop the corresponding mental representations to distinguish between lexical and grammatical meaning.

Dissertation projects in B2 are relevant to students with an interdisciplinary interest in phonetics, phonology/prosody, dialectology and language acquisition. Individual projects enable empirical research to be carried out in acoustic and perceptual phonetics, as well as neuro- and psychophonetics, and takes place in the context of current theoretical discussions (e.g., autosegmental-metric phonology, optimality theory, exemplar theory).

Possible topics include:

  • Acoustic-phonetic work on phonetic prototypes and variants of tone accents in different phases of acquisition.
  • Prosodic-phonological analyses of the acquisition of tonal representations.
  • Psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic investigations of tone accent processing in the early phases of acquisition.