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ERIC Number: EJ1084425
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0165-0254
Phonetic Processing When Learning Words
Havy, Mélanie; Bouchon, Camillia; Nazzi, Thierry
International Journal of Behavioral Development, v40 n1 p41-52 Jan 2016
Infants have remarkable abilities to learn several languages. However, phonological acquisition in bilingual infants appears to vary depending on the phonetic similarities or differences of their two native languages. Many studies suggest that learning contrasts with different realizations in the two languages (e.g., the /p/, /t/, /k/ stops have similar VOT values in French, Spanish, Italian and European Portuguese, but can be confounded with the /b/, /d/, /g/ in German and English) poses a particular challenge. The current study explores how similarity or difference in the realization of phonetic contrasts affects word-learning outcomes. Bilingual infants aged 16 months were tested on their capacity to learn pairs of new words, differing by a phonological feature (voicing versus place) on their initial consonant. Two groups of infants were considered: bilinguals exposed to languages (French and either Spanish, Italian or European Portuguese) in which the contrasts tested are realized relatively similarly ("similar contrast" group) and bilinguals exposed to languages (French and either English or German) in which the contrasts are realized very differently ("different contrast" group). In the present word-learning situation, the "similar contrast" bilinguals successfully processed the relevant phonetic detail of the word forms, while the "different contrast" bilinguals failed. The present pattern reveals the impact on word learning of phonological differences between the two languages, which is consistent with studies reporting slight time course differences among bilinguals in phonological acquisition. In line with a larger literature on bilingual acquisition, these results provide further evidence that linguistic similarity or difference in the two languages influences the pattern of bilingual acquisition.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A