ERIC Number: EJ937619
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Acquisition of Speech Rhythm by Three-Year-Old Bilingual and Monolingual Children: Cantonese and English
Mok, Peggy P. K.
Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v14 n4 p458-472 Oct 2011
This study investigates the acquisition of speech rhythm by Cantonese-English bilingual children and their age-matched monolingual peers. Languages can be classified in terms of rhythmic characteristics that define English as stress-timed and Cantonese as syllable-timed. Few studies have examined the concurrent acquisition of rhythmically different languages in bilingual children. This study uses data of six Cantonese-English bilingual children around age 3;0 and compares them with six monolingual children in each language using recently developed acoustic rhythmic metrics on consonantal, vocalic and syllabic intervals. Qualitative data on syllable structure complexity and vowel quality are also included. Results on syllable duration show that monolingual children display distinct rhythmic patterns while the differences between the two languages of the bilingual children are less distinct. Bilingual English has less durational variability than monolingual English. Bilingual children have a distinct phonological developmental trajectory from monolingual children, which is manifested in acquisition delay and is influenced by language dominance. This shows that the two phonologies interact at the prosodic level.
Descriptors: Language Dominance, Intervals, Syllables, Vowels, Language Rhythm, Monolingualism, Bilingualism, Language Acquisition, Second Language Learning, English (Second Language), Sino Tibetan Languages, Phonology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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