15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

September 14-18, 2014

Acoustic Properties of Shared Vowels in Bilingual Mandarin-English Children

Jing Yang, Robert Allen Fox

Ohio State University, USA

This study investigates L1-L2 interactions in relatively young Mandarin (L1) - English (L2) bilingual children through comparing their static and dynamic vowel acoustic features with those of age-matched corresponding monolingual children. Two groups of sequential bilingual children aged 5–6 years (one with low proficiency in English and the other with high proficiency in English) were recorded producing a set of words containing the shared vowels /a/, /i/, /u/ in both languages. Age-matched monolingual children only produced the words in their native language. F1 and F2 values were measured at 5 equidistant time locations. It is found that both groups of bilingual children showed distinctive vowel dispersion patterns and dynamic spectral change patterns from those of monolingual children. Low proficiency bilingual children showed an assimilatory process of L1 on L2 and high proficiency bilingual children showed an assimilatory process of L2 on L1.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yang, Jing / Fox, Robert Allen (2014): "Acoustic properties of shared vowels in bilingual Mandarin-English children", In INTERSPEECH-2014, 1297-1301.