15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Bilingual Phonological Acquisition of Preschool Children of Puerto Rican Descent

Adele W. Miccio (1), Lisa M. López (1), Carol Scheffner Hammer (2)

(1) Harvard University, USA
(2) Pennsylvania State University, USA

The purpose of this study was to describe longitudinally the phonological acquisition of 43 children of Puerto Rican descent who were acquiring Spanish and English sequentially or simultaneously from the ages of three to five years. Spanish and English language samples were obtained at the beginning and end of each year of two years of Head Start preschool (Times 1-4). Language samples were analyzed to determine vowel, consonant and syllable type inventories in English and Spanish. The first data collection indicated richer Spanish phonologies in those children from Spanish-speaking homes. At Time 2, all children had less complex Spanish phonological systems than reported for monolingual children. By Time 3, English phonologies of the simultaneous group were within the range reported for typical monolingual children and the reverse was true of children in the sequential group. At Time 4, all children produced most English phonemes in simple phonetic environments but continued to have difficulty with later developing English phonemes and consonant clusters. Children in both groups continued to have difficulty with Spanish trills.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Miccio, Adele W. / López, Lisa M. / Hammer, Carol Scheffner (2003): "Bilingual phonological acquisition of preschool children of Puerto Rican descent", In ICPhS-15, 1549-1552.