Language Dominance and Performance Outcomes in Bilingual Pronunciation
Barbara E. Bullock, Almeida Jacqueline Toribio, Verónica González, and Amanda Dalola
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The authors investigate the phonetic effects of code-switching on the voice onset time (VOT) productions of two groups of Spanish—English bilinguals differing in their L1. Previous psycholinguistic studies of the phonetics of language switching have proposed either (a) that the phonetic transition between one language to the next is immediate and complete, (b) that there is a carryover from the base language, the language that initiates the utterance, to the guest language, the language terminating the utterance or (c) that the effect is asymmetric in that the dominant language remains unchanged while the weaker language shows convergence toward the settings of the L1. The results of the current investigation demonstrate that none of these proposals can be maintained. Instead, while an asymmetric effect was indeed observed, it was consistently in the same direction, significantly lowering English VOT toward Spanish values in both groups of speakers. The authors conclude that the L1 phonetic system is not deterministic in bilingual phonetic production, rather they surmise that inherent language differences and bilinguals' proficiency level in their second language may bear on performance outcomes.
Proceedings of the 8th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2006): The Banff Conference
edited by Mary Grantham O'Brien, Christine Shea, and John Archibald
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