Skip to main content


Transfer of boundary effects in English tag questions produced by Korean L2 speakers

This study examines intonational patterns exhibited by Korean L2 speakers of English, focusing on their durational and pitch patterns near the phrase boundary of English tag questions.


Korean is known to be a language that lacks lexical prominence but shows several boundary tones to highlight the edges of a phrase (e.g., Jun 2007), unlike English where prominence is marked by stress at the lexical level and by pitch accents at the phrasal level (Beckman & Pierrehumbert 1986).


If Korean speakers were to be interfered by their native language when speaking a non-native one, they would likely show distinct patterns near the boundary.


The result supports this hypothesis: Korean L2 speakers are more consistently affected by the presence of the boundary especially when they try to speak more dramatically.


It also points at a potential behavioral account, that the speakers try to compensate for speaking in a non-native language by highlighting the boundary-related features.