The acquisition of Japanese stops by Japanese-Mandarin bilingual children

Makiko Tanaka, Li-Mei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Early bilinguals—those exposed to their second language (L2) during early childhood or who grew up bilingually from birth—are regarded as bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA) children. This paper investigates the production of word-initial Japanese stops by Japanese-Mandarin BFLA children growing up in southern Taiwan. Examination of Japanese word stop voice onset times (VOTs) by these bilingual children, aged 3-6 years old, revealed three important findings: (1) They tended to replace Japanese voiceless stops with Mandarin aspirated stops as well as Japanese voiced stops (except voiced stops with negative value) with Mandarin unaspirated stops; (2) Some children as young as three years old were able to produce prevoicing in Japanese voiced stops; and (3) Error patterns including aspiration and devoicing also suggest that they have established a unique phonetic system, the result of a mixture of both languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalConcentric: Studies in Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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