Acquisition of stops by Mandarin-Japanese early bilingual children aged three to six

  • 田 子 中真希子

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This study investigated the acquisition of word-initial Japanese and Mandarin stops produced by Mandarin-Japanese bilingual children who have grown up in southern Taiwan Examination of Japanese and Mandarin stop VOT and f0 by the bilingual children aged three to six years old revealed several important findings: (1) They were able to discriminate Japanese stops (/d/ /g/ /t/ /k/) and Mandarin stops (/p/ /t/ /k/ /ph/ /th/ /kh/) in terms of place of articulation and manner of articulation across ages (2) The f0 values in the transcribed Japanese voiceless stops were higher than those of the transcribed Japanese voiced stops regardless of whether the VOT was with short lag or short lead; as such f0 in Japanese stops could take a role of an additional acoustic cue in differentiating the stop contrast in Japanese (3) They mostly acquired all Japanese and Mandarin target stops after the age of five and some children were able to produce prevoicing in Japanese voiced stops and aspiration in Mandarin aspirated stops as young as three years old (4) Error patterns observed in each language revealed the mixture of child-specific patterns (i e devoicing and deaspiration) language specific systems (i e alveolar backing and affrication in Japanese and bilabial backing and initial consonant weakening in Mandarin) and language influence (i e aspiration in Japanese and voicing in Mandarin) as well as the individual differences (e g velar fronting produced by a six-year-old boy) (5) They had longer VOT values in voiceless Japanese stops compared to their native Japanese parents while VOT of their aspirated Mandarin stops was significantly greater than that produced by their native Mandarin parents (6) They maintained phonetic contrast among three VOT categories in their two languages (a) voiced stops in Japanese/unaspirated stops in Mandarin (b) voiceless stops in Japanese and (c) aspirated stops in Mandarin The results in both parameters of phonological acquisition phonetic features (VOT and f0) and substitution patterns lend credibility to the idea that the early bilingual children develop distinct Japanese and Mandarin phonetic systems while showing cross-linguistic influence in each language The findings of this study could provide better understanding of the phonological representation in early bilinguals This study also contributes new descriptive reference materials documenting the phonological development of bilingual children for speech therapists or pathologists This study is part of the paidologos project (a large cross-linguistic investigation of phonological development)
Date of Award2016 Jul 21
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLi-Mei Chen (Supervisor)

Cite this

Acquisition of stops by Mandarin-Japanese early bilingual children aged three to six
中真希子, 田. 子. (Author). 2016 Jul 21

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis