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Speech rhythm of monolingual and bilingual children at age 2;6: Cantonese and English*

  • PEGGY P. K. MOK (a1)


Previous studies have showed that at age 3;0, monolingual children acquiring rhythmically different languages display distinct rhythmic patterns while the speech rhythm patterns of the languages of bilingual children are more similar. It is unclear whether the same observations can be found for younger children, at 2;6. This study compared five Cantonese–English simultaneous bilingual children with five monolingual children in each language using both rhythmic metrics and qualitative data on syllable structure complexity and lexical stress. Results show that while the speech rhythms of monolingual children are different at 2;6, the rhythmic patterns of bilingual children are less distinct.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, Leung Kau Kui Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong


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The author would like to thank the parents of several monolingual children for the monolingual data. She thanks the participants of the International Child Phonology Conference 2011 at York for their helpful suggestions. She also thanks the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, and Donald White for editing the manuscript.



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