Speech Rhythm in the Pronunciation of German and Spanish Monolingual and German-Spanish Bilingual 3-Year-Olds
Authors: Kehoe, Margaret; Lleó, Conxita; Rakow, Martin
Source: Linguistische Berichte, Volume 2011, Number 227, August 2011 , pp. 323-352(30)
Publisher: Helmut Buske Verlag
Abstract:Recent linguistic research suggests that reliable acoustic cues underlie the rhythmic classification: stress versus syllable timing. We utilized the Pairwise Variability Index (PVI) to examine the rhythmic patterns of six monolingual (3 German; 3 Spanish) and six bilingual German-Spanish children (3 growing up in Germany; 3 growing up in Spain), aged 3;0 years. Our aim was to determine whether the rhythmic patterns (stress- vs syllable-timing) of German and Spanish could be distinguished in the speech of three-year-old children, and whether bilingual children differed from monolingual children in this respect. Results indicated that the PVIs of monolingual German and Spanish children were significantly different from each other; however, bilingual children displayed similar rhythmic patterns in both languages, tending towards less vocalic variability in German and greater consonantal variability in Spanish than the monolinguals. These findings show that child production reflects the prosody—here rhythm— of their target language at a very early age, and are consistent with “phonetic compromise” in the bilingual development of the acoustic patterns that underlie rhythm.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 2011
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