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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Age, Input, and Language Mode Factors in the Acquisition of VOT by English-Arabic Bilingual Children

Ghada Khattab

University of Newcastle, UK

This paper investigates word-initial Voice Onset Time (VOT) patterns of three Lebanese-English bilinguals aged five, seven and ten and living in Yorkshire, England. The aim is to examine the extent to which children exposed to two languages establish phonetically distinct contrasts for either language. Results show that VOT patterns for each bilingual child differ across the two languages. But while the contrast in English resembles a monolingual-like model, that for Arabic exhibits persisting developmental features that are intricately related to age, complexity, and input. Furthermore, English words produced during code-switching in the Arabic sessions exhibit different VOT patterns from those produced during the English sessions. Such results highlight the importance of taking the language mode into account when investigating language differentiation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Khattab, Ghada (2003): "Age, input, and language mode factors in the acquisition of VOT by English-Arabic bilingual children", In ICPhS-15, 3213-3216.