Voice Onset Time in German-Italian Simultaneous Bilinguals: Evidence on Cross-Language Influence and Markedness
Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş
Tanja Kupisch [+]
University of Konstanz & Arctic University of Norway
Tanja Kupisch is Professor of Romance Linguistics in the Department of General Linguistics at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and Professor II at the Arctic University of Norway.
Conxita Lleó [+]
University of Hamburg (Retired)
Conxita Lleó, now retired, was Professor of Romance Linguistics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. She studied Romance Languages at the University of Barcelona and General Linguistics at the U of W (Seattle), and received two PhD degrees, one from each university. She taught at the Universities of Barcelona, Concepción (Chile), San Luis (Argentina), Göttingen (Germany) the University of Hamburg . Her focus of research lies in bilingualism, child language, phonological acquisition, and sound change, where she has published about 100 studies and several books. During ca. 20 years she obtained research grants from the German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). She fluently speaks Spanish, Catalan, French, English, and German.
This study aims to investigate whether the language spoken in the childhood environment has some effect on the development and maintenance of the phonetic systems of simultaneous bilinguals. More specifically, we analyze the Voice Onset Time (VOT) of semi-spontaneous productions of the voiceless stop /k/ by 14 German-Italian bilinguals, who grew up in either Germany or Italy. Results indicate that most speakers have distinct VOT ranges in their two languages, which are within those of monolinguals, i.e. short lag in Italian and long lag in German. This even holds for their minority language, in spite of the fact that it is spoken with a perceivable foreign accent.