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The predictors of foreign-accentedness in the home language of Polish–English bilingual children


We investigated the speech patterns and accentedness of Polish–English bilingual children raised in Great Britain to verify whether their L1 Polish would be perceived as different from that of monolinguals matched for age and socioeconomic status. To this end, Polish-language speech samples of 32 bilinguals and 10 monolinguals (a 3:1 ratio, MAge = 5.79) were phonetically analysed by trained phoneticians and rated by 55 Polish raters, who assessed the degree of native accent, intelligibility, acceptability and perceived age. The results show significant differences in the phonetic performance of bilingual and monolingual children – both in terms of atypical speech patterns uncovered in the phonetic analysis and in terms of the holistic accentedness ratings. We also explored the socio-linguistic predictors of accent ratings in bilingual speech and found that the amount of L1 Polish input was the main predictor of accentedness in children's L1 Polish speech, while L2 English input was marginally significant. (149)

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Address for correspondence: Magdalena Wrembel, Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, al. Niepodległości 4, 61–874 Poznań, Poland
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*The data for this paper come from the Bi-SLI-Poland project Cognitive and language development of Polish bilingual children at the school entrance age – risks and opportunities conducted within the European COST Action IS0804 and carried out at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, Poland in collaboration with Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Poland. The project was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education /National Science Centre (Decision 809/N-COST/2010/0). Data collection and coding were also partly supported by Foundation for Polish Science subsidy to Zofia Wodniecka.

The current project was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education grant (Decision 0094/NPRH3/H12/82/2014) Phonological and Morpho-syntactic Features of Language and Discourse of Polish Children Raised Bilingually in Migrant Communities in Great Britain carried out at the Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw, Poland. The project was related to the European COST Action IS1306.

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