ERIC Number: EJ858863
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 57
Developmental Shift in the Discrimination of Vowel Contrasts in Bilingual Infants: Is the Distributional Account All There Is to It?
Sebastian-Galles, Nuria; Bosch, Laura
Developmental Science, v12 n6 p874-887 Nov 2009
A shift from language-general to language-specific sound discrimination abilities has been largely attested in different populations of infants during the second half of the first year of life; however, data are still scarce regarding bilingual populations. Previous research with 4-, 8- and 12-month-old Catalan-Spanish bilingual infants had offered evidence of a U-shaped pattern in their ability to discriminate a language-specific vowel contrast. This research explores monolingual and bilingual 4- and 8-month-olds' capacities to discriminate two common vowel contrasts: /o-u/ and /e-u/. All groups succeeded except 8-month-old bilinguals tested on the phonetically close /o-u/ contrast. Discrimination was not facilitated when talker and token variability were reduced. A U-shaped pattern was again found when data from an additional group of 12-month-olds were included. These results confirm bilinguals' specific developmental pattern of perceptual reorganization for acoustically close vowels and challenge an interpretation merely based on a distributional account.
Descriptors: Vowels, Infants, Monolingualism, Bilingualism, Auditory Discrimination, Spanish, Romance Languages, Phonetics, Cognitive Processes, Auditory Perception
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A