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The use of voice onset time by early bilinguals to distinguish homorganic stops in Canadian English and Canadian French

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2009

ANDREA A. N. MACLEOD
Affiliation:
University of Washington
CAROL STOEL-GAMMON
Affiliation:
University of Washington
Corresponding

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine the extent to which bilingual speakers maintain language-specific phonological contrasts for homorganic stops when a cue is shared across both languages. To this end, voice onset time (VOT) was investigated in three groups of participants: early bilinguals speakers of Canadian French and Canadian English (n = 8), monolingual speakers of Canadian English (n = 8), and monolingual speakers of Canadian French (n = 7). Three questions were targeted: What are the general patterns of VOT production in bilingual and monolinguals? Do bilingual speakers produce different mean VOT than monolinguals? Do bilingual speakers produce different variability in VOT than monolinguals? Acoustic measurements of VOT were made from monosyllabic English and French words with word-initial bilabial or coronal stop consonants. The results indicate that the early bilingual speakers maintain monolingual-like phonemic contrasts, but that they exhibit more variation within categories than monolingual speakers.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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