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Languages 2018, 3(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030034

Patterns of Short-Term Phonetic Interference in Bilingual Speech

Department of English and American Studies, Palacký University Olomouc, Křížkovského 511/8, 77147 Olomouc, Czech Republic
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Received: 28 January 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Code-Switching)
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Abstract

Previous research indicates that alternating between a bilingual’s languages during speech production can lead to short-term increases in cross-language phonetic interaction. However, discrepancies exist between the reported L1–L2 effects in terms of direction and magnitude, and sometimes the effects are not found at all. The present study focused on L1 interference in L2, examining Voice Onset Time (VOT) of English voiceless stops produced by L1-dominant Czech-English bilinguals—interpreter trainees highly proficient in L2-English. We tested two hypotheses: (1) switching between languages induces an immediate increase in L1 interference during code-switching; and (2) due to global language co-activation, an increase in L1-to-L2 interference occurs when bilinguals interpret (translate) a message from L1 into L2 even if they do not produce L1 speech. Fourteen bilinguals uttered L2-English sentences under three conditions: L2-only, code-switching into L2, and interpreting into L2. Against expectation, the results showed that English VOT in the bilingual tasks tended to be longer and less Czech-like compared to the English-only task. This contradicts an earlier finding of L2 VOT converging temporarily towards L1 VOT values for comparable bilingual tasks performed by speakers from the same bilingual population. Participant-level inspection of our data suggests that besides language-background differences, individual language-switching strategies contribute to discrepancies between studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: code-switching; interpreting; language mode; cross-language phonetic interference; voice onset time code-switching; interpreting; language mode; cross-language phonetic interference; voice onset time
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Šimáčková, Š.; Podlipský, V.J. Patterns of Short-Term Phonetic Interference in Bilingual Speech. Languages 2018, 3, 34.

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