Prosodie und Inferenz in zweisprachiger Lernumgebung: Neue Ansätze für Deutsch als Fremdsprache in Italien
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Traditional foreign language courses in Italian schools and universities ignore the learners’ mothertongue, thus isolating SLA from encyclopaedic knowledge, linguistic and pragmatic competence in L1. Experiments with Italian learners of German in a formal setting have proved to be relevant to explain L2-phonetics and L2-lexicon acquisition processes considering implicit knowledge and inference – the ubiquitous process not yet fully exploited in its relevance to SLA. In this paper we describe an experimental approach to SLA in a formal learning setting based on inferential learning techniques. Correct German pronunciation was attained by raising the learners’ attention towards prosodic features in L1 before moving to L2. This process relies on inference at the suprasegmental level. Overt inferential processes were introduced on a large-scale experimental basis as a standard procedure in SLA. Learners were presented with authentic German texts characterized by a coherent information structure and by a large amount of new lexical items.They worked in a structured self-learning modality and had to focus their attention on meaning, although they did not understand the new words while reading. They acquired new lexical items by means of inferential processes linking L2-linguistic competence with L1-encyclopaedic knowledge. During frequent re-reading triggered by previous reading, learners autonomously moved from semantics to syntax and morphology without any formal instruction, thus rapidly achieving L2- acquisition.