14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Categorization of Bilabial Stop Consonants by Bilingual Speakers of English and Polish

Elzbieta B. Slawinski, Megan Wiigs

Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Canada

The range of VOT characterizing voiced [b] and voiceless [p] stop consonants is different in English and Polish languages. The study focused on the influence of voicing distinction in Polish on that in English.
   The experiment included 10 monolingual English listeners and 10 bilingual Polish listeners who had learned to speak English in an intensive setting between six and twelve years of age. Participants listened to a [bi-pi] continuum of 10 synthesized syllables with VOT values varying from -40 to +50 ms. Ten repetitions of each stimulus were presented to the listeners within Polish and English settings.
   Results indicated that the location of the phonemic boundary between categories of voiced and voiceless stop consonants differed significantly between bilingual and monolingual groups. Moreover, a significant influence of the language setting on categorization of stop consonants by bilinguals suggests that they may possess a distinct phonetic inventory representation for each language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Slawinski, Elzbieta B. / Wiigs, Megan (1999): "Categorization of bilabial stop consonants by bilingual speakers of English and Polish", In ICPhS-14, 771-774.