Acceleration in the bilingual acquisition of phonological structure: evidence from Polish–English bilingual children
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This study examines the production of consonant clusters in simultaneous Polish-English bilingual children and in language-matched English monolinguals (aged 7;01- 8;11). Selection of the language pair was based on the fact that Polish allows a greater range of phonologically complex cluster types than English. A nonword repetition task was devised in order to examine clusters of different types (obstruent-liquid vs. s + obstruent) and in different word positions (initial vs. medial), two factors that play a significant role in repetition accuracy in monolingual acquisition (e.g. Kirk & Demuth, 2005). Our findings show that bilingual children outperformed monolingual controls in the word initial s + obstruent condition. These results indicate that exposure to complex word initial clusters (in Polish) can accelerate the development of less phonologically complex clusters (in English). This constitutes significant new evidence that the facilitatory effects of bilingual acquisition extend to structural phonological domains.
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