Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş

Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş

The Initial Development of Voice Onset Time in Early Successive French-Swedish Bilinguals

Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş

Frida Splendido [+-]
Lund University
Frida Splendido works as a senior lecturer of French and Swedish as a second language at the Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University. She is also a pedagogical developer at the Lund University Humanities Lab. Her research interests include phonological development, bilingual phonology, phonetics and second language acquisition.


This chapter explores the initial development of VOT in three Swedish-speaking learners of French (age of onset: 3;0-3;5). Swedish uses long lag and short lag/lead to differentiate voiceless and voiced stops word-initially (Helgasson & Ringen 2008; Sundberg & Lacerda 1999). In French this distinction is made using short lag and lead (Kessinger och Blumstein 1997). Through a memory game word-initial stops were elicited in three vocalic contexts. French and Swedish productions from three recordings were analysed (at 10, 19 and 29 months of exposure). Data was also collected from age-matched simultaneous bilinguals (n = 3) and French-speaking monolinguals (n = 2). The successive bilinguals separate the two languages in the first recording. Initial French productions appear influenced by Swedish VOT but later align with the data from the monolinguals and simultaneous bilinguals. The successive bilinguals’ Swedish VOT indicates a delay compared to monolingual development as reported in the literature. This was also the case for the simultaneous bilinguals. Results are discussed with regards to factors such as bilingual frequency and markedness (see Lleó & Cortés 2013). Helgasson, P., & C. Ringen. 2008. ”Voicing and aspiration in Swedish stops.” Journal of Phonetics, 36: 607–28. Kessinger, R. H., & S. E. Blumstein. 1997. ”Effects of speaking rate on voice-onset time in Thai, French, and English.” Journal of Phonetics, 25: 143–68. Lleó, C., & S. Cortés. 2013. ”Modeling the outcome of language contact in the speech of German-Spanish and Catalan-Spanish bilingual children”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2013 (221): 101–25. Sundberg, U., & F. Lacerda. 1999. ”Voice onset time in speech to infants and adults.” Phonetica, 56: 186–99.

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Splendido, Frida. The Initial Development of Voice Onset Time in Early Successive French-Swedish Bilinguals. Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 56-78 Jan 2017. ISBN 9781781792827. Date accessed: 20 Jan 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27356. Jan 2017

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