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Korean-English bilingual children's production of stop contrasts

말소리와음성과학 2019년 11권 3호 p.1 ~ 7
 ( Oh Eun-Hae ) - Konkuk University Department of English Language and Literature


Korean (L1)-English (L2) bilingual adults’ and children’s production of Korean and English stops was examined to determine the age effects and L2 experience on the development of L1 and L2 stop contrasts. Four groups of Seoul Korean speakers (experienced and inexperienced adult and child groups) and two groups of age-matched native English speakers participated. The overall results of voice onset time (VOT) and fundamental frequency (F0) of phrase-initial stops in Korean and word-intial stops in English showed a delay in the acquisition of L1 due to the dominant exposure to L2. Significantly longer VOT and lower F0 for aspirated stops as well as high temporal variability across repetitions of lenis stops were interpreted to indicate a strong effect of English on Korean stop contrasts for bilingual children. That is, the heavy use of VOT for Korean stop contrasts shows bilingual children’s attention to the acoustic cue that are primarily employed in the dominant L2. Furthermore, inexperienced children, but not adults, were shown to create new L2 categories that are distinctive from the L1 within 6 months of L2 experience, suggesting greater independence between the two phonological systems. The implications of bilinguals’ age at the time of testing to the degree and direction of L1-L2 interaction are further discussed.


child bilinguals; L2 experience; stop contrasts; VOT; F0; category assimilation and dissimilation
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