How do native speakers of Russian evaluate yes/no questions produced by Finnish L2 learners?
Ullakonoja, Riikka. 2010. How do native speakers of Russian evaluate yes/no questions produced by Finnish L2 learners? Rice Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 2 : s. 92-105
Published inRice Working Papers in Linguistics
This study analyzes native Russian speakers’ evaluation of seven Russian yes/noquestions each produced by Finnish speakers in two sets of recordings (during a stay in Russia and after it). The Finnish speakers were six female university students of Russian. This research question is interesting because the two typologically unrelated languages differ in the prosody of yes/no-questions. In Russian a yes/no-question is created from a lexically and syntactically corresponding statement by means of intonation, whereas in Finnish the cue for questioning is an interrogative particle – ko/-kö instead of prosody. Hence, native Finnish speakers are likely to have difficulties in pronouncing Russian yes/no-questions. The aim was to find out how native Russian speakers recognise the intended questions produced by Finnish learners. First, the recognition rate of the different yes/no-questions was studied, and then the acceptability rating of questions was computed. The results show that in general students did not perform very well in producing a yes/no-question, but there was great variation depending on the question and learner. According to the successfulness of production two groups of utterances were established: successful and non-successful ones. The statistically significant difference between the two was explained by their syntactical and lexical content. The conclusions made are supportive of earlier findings, where Russian question intonation has been found difficult for Finns to learn. ...