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The acquisition of voicing contrasts in Spanish and English learning infants and children: a longitudinal study*

  • Rebecca E. Eilers (a1), D. Kimbrough Oller (a1) and Carmen R. Benito-Garcia (a1)


The production of voice-onset time (VOT) was studied in a group of Spanish- and English-learning subjects at 1 and 2 years of age. Voice-onset time of initial stop consonants from canonical utterances was measured oscillographically. At one year no significant difference in VOT production was found between Spanish and English learners at any place of articulation. Mean VOT values for infants fell in the short lag range. By two years, four of the seven children in the English group and four of the children in the Spanish group showed significant evidence of having acquired the VOT distinction in stop consonants appropriate for their native language.



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This research was supported by NIMH grant no. 30634 to the senior author and by the Mailman Foundation. We wish to thank all of the parents who participated in this longitudinal study for their support, patience, persistence and encouragement and Dr Dale Bull for his assistance with data analysis. Address of first author, for correspondence: Department of Pediatrics, Mailman Center for Child Development, P.O. Box 016820, Miami, Florida 33101.



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The acquisition of voicing contrasts in Spanish and English learning infants and children: a longitudinal study*

  • Rebecca E. Eilers (a1), D. Kimbrough Oller (a1) and Carmen R. Benito-Garcia (a1)


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