Master of Arts
Department of English
First Advisor's Name
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
Third Advisor's Committee Title
bilingualism, cognates, voice onset time, VOT, phonological interaction
Date of Defense
This study compared Spanish-English bilinguals’ and English monolinguals’ VOT values for voiced stops /b, d, g/ in cognates and non-cognates. The data support cross-linguistic interaction in bilinguals' phonologies, and indicate that cognates can interfere with bilinguals’ phonemic distinctions, realized in their phonetic productions.
For voiced stops, English VOT norms generally average 0 to +35 ms, while Spanish VOT norms average -235 to -45 ms. Twenty-six participants (twelve English monolinguals and fourteen early Spanish-English bilinguals) were administered a picture-naming task, balanced for cognate and non-cognate forms. The VOT values of 30 target words per participant and per language were measured.
In English, bilinguals’ VOTs exhibited significantly greater lead voicing (M = -31.53 ms) than monolinguals’ (M = 8.86 ms), and, for all participants, /b/ had longer lead voicing (M = -17.44 ms) than /d/ (-10.74 ms) and /g/ (-5.83 ms).
Comparing bilinguals’ VOTs for Spanish versus English revealed significant differences by language (English shorter), differences between /b/ and /g/, and between cognates and non-cognates, with shorter lead voicing in cognates (M = -45.49 ms) than in non-cognates (M = -53.26 ms). More detailed results showed that in bilinguals’ Spanish productions with word-initial /d/ and English productions with word-initial /b/, cognates exhibited shorter lead voicing (more English-like) than non-cognates.
The conclusion is that the bilinguals’ VOT values exhibited some cross-linguistic influence in relation to cognate usage, in the direction towards their dominant language (English). These results are discussed in terms of the factors that can facilitate bilingual phonological system interaction.
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Younes, Sophia Andrea, "Phonological Interaction in Spanish-English Bilinguals: Effects of Cognate Usage on Voice Onset Time of Voiced Stops" (2018). MA in Linguistics Final Projects. 8.