ACQUISITION OF THE STOP-SPIRANT ALTERNATION IN BILINGUAL CHILDREN: EVIDENCE FROM SPANISH, ENGLISH, AND CATALAN

picture of Susan Plasencia presenting his/her poster: ACQUISITION OF THE STOP-SPIRANT ALTERNATION IN BILINGUAL CHILDREN: EVIDENCE FROM SPANISH, ENGLISH, AND CATALAN

Susan Plasencia , Leah Fabiano-Smith

ACQUISITION OF THE STOP-SPIRANT ALTERNATION IN BILINGUAL CHILDREN: EVIDENCE FROM SPANISH, ENGLISH, AND CATALAN

The objective of this project was to increase our understanding of language development in bilingual children. The specific aim of this project was to investigate how bilingual children acquire a linguistic rule that is required in one language but absent in the other. To investigate this phenomenon, we tested the following hypothesis: We predicted that bilingual children would acquire the stop-spirant alternation, a linguistic rule specific to Spanish, at a different rate than monolingual Spanish-speakers due to the presence of another language (in this case, either English or Catalan). We predicted that we would see differences across bilingual groups in their use of this rule due to linguistic differences between (1) English and Catalan and (2) Castilian and Mexican Spanish. We also predicted that we would observe a language difference in speech sound acquisition in bilingual children, as compared to monolinguals, that is due to interaction between their two languages (e.g., Paradis & Genesee), which will help us separate language difference from language disorder.

 

Six bilingual Spanish-English-speaking and six Spanish-Catalan-speaking preschoolers were included in the current study.  Single word and connected speech samples were recorded from all children in both of their languages.  Spanish recordings were transcribed using narrow IPA by highly proficient speakers of Spanish using the Logical International Phonetics Program (LIPP) (Oller & Delgado, 2000).  Accuracy of stops and spirants were analyzed (1) quantitatively for percent accuracy and (2) qualitatively for substitution errors, examining both sound targets and substitutes.  Data Analysis is still in progress.

 

We predict that the children who speak two languages that include the stop-spirant alternation (i.e., Spanish-Catalan bilinguals) will demonstrate higher accuracy on both stops and spirants and less substitution errors than children who do not have this rule in both of their languages (i.e., Spanish-English bilinguals).  This presentation will include preliminary results from Spanish with comparison to English.  Transcription of children’s speech in Catalan is still in progress. 

 

Grant Number: 5 T37 MD001427

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