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Voice onset time in bilingual German-Spanish children

  • MARGARET M. KEHOE (a1), CONXITA LLEÓ (a2) and MARTIN RAKOW (a1)

Abstract

This study examines the acquisition of the voicing contrast in German-Spanish bilingual children, on the basis of the acoustic measurement of Voice Onset Time (VOT). VOT in four bilingual children (aged 2;0–3;0) was measured and compared to VOT in three monolingual German children (aged 1;9–2;6), and to previous literature findings in Spanish. All measurements were based on word-initial stops extracted from naturalistic speech recordings. Results revealed that the bilingual children displayed three different patterns of VOT development: 1. Delay in the phonetic realization of voicing: two bilingual children did not acquire long lag stops in German during the testing period; 2. Transfer of voicing features: one child produced German voiced stops with lead voicing and Spanish voiceless stops with long lag voicing; and 3. No cross-language influence in the phonetic realization of voicing. The relevance of the findings for cross-linguistic interaction in bilingual phonetic/phonological development is discussed.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Margaret M. Kehoe, Sonderforschungsbereich 538, Universität Hamburg, Max-Brauer-Allee 60, D-22765 Hamburg, Germany E-mail: kehoewinkler@gmx.ch

Voice onset time in bilingual German-Spanish children

  • MARGARET M. KEHOE (a1), CONXITA LLEÓ (a2) and MARTIN RAKOW (a1)

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