A Phonetic Account of Spanish-English Bilinguals’ Divergence with Agreement
1.1. Acquisition of Gender in Spanish-English Bilinguals
1.2. Acquisition of Vowels in Spanish-English Bilinguals
1.3. Phonetics and Morphosyntax
1.4. Research Questions and Hypotheses
2. Materials and Methods
2.2. Materials and Tasks
- DP configuration
Noun: lobo ‘wolf’ Adjective + Noun gran lobo ‘big wolf-mas’ Determiner + Noun: el lobo ‘the-mas wolf-mas’ Determiner + Covert Noun + Adjective: el grande ‘the-mas big’ Determiner + Adjective + Noun: el gran lobo ‘the-mas big wolf-mas’ Determiner + Noun + Adjective: el lobo grande ‘the-mas wolf-mas big’
- Agreement: match for agreement features (number or gender) with determiners and/or adjectives, and with target gender of the noun
Correct: las casas bonitas ‘the-fem pretty-fem houses-fem’ Incorrect: la casa bonito ‘the-fem pretty-mas house-fem’
- Noun semantic type: semantic features of the noun under analysis
Abstract: paz ‘peace’ Concrete: coche ‘car’ Animate: gato ‘cat’ Human: chica ‘girl’ Event: fiesta ‘party’
Mass: arena ‘sand’ Individual: coche ‘car’ Collective: equipo ‘team’ Ambiguous (used as individual): la policía ‘female police officer’ Ambiguous (used as collective): la policía ‘police’ Both (mass or individual): fruta ‘fruit’
- Gender visibility
[nouns with formally visible gender] word marker: niño (m) ‘boy’ niña (f) ‘girl’ transparent suffix: educación (f) ‘education’ cazador (m) ‘hunter’ [nouns with no visible gender marking] -e: padre (m) ‘father’ -i / -u: espíritu (m) ‘spirit’ consonant: amor (m) ‘love’ inverted (-o for fem. /-a for masc.): mano (f), foto (m) ‘hand, photo’
- Gender alternation: whether or not there exists an opposite word to pair with the noun in terms of gender and the nature of the lexical relationship between the alternants
Transparent: gato (m)/gata (f) ‘male cat, female cat’ Unmarked masculine: jefe/jefa (m)/(f) ‘male boss, female boss’ Lexical root gender: hombre (m), mujer (f) ‘man, woman’ Derivational: cerezo/cereza (m)/(f) ‘cherry tree, cherry’ Free variation (alternating forms with minimal or no semantic change): canasta (f)/canasto(m) ‘basket’ Unrelated: plato (m)/plata (f) ‘plate, silver’ Invisible gender (semantically alternating but marked only in article): estudiante (f)/(m) ‘male or female student’ Unique (only one gender per root): carro (cf *carra) ‘car’ Epicene (one grammatical gendered semantically unspecified gender): víctima (f) ‘male or female victim’
3.1. Phonetic Analysis
3.2. Morphosyntactic Analysis
- la abuelita y la caperucita rojo … (Speaker UT052, EB)The-fem grandmother-fem and the-fem little-riding-hood- fem red-masc
- Y la niña la caperucita rojo … (Speaker UT052, EB)And the-fem girl-fem the-fem little-riding-hood-fem red-masc
- con ello y a a le hablaba y … (Speaker UT054, EB)With him and ah ah her-dat spoke and [intended reference to “with her”]
- bueno su abuelo la había … (Speaker UT107, M)Well her grandparent-masc her-dat had
- todas las alimentos … (Speaker UT086, LB)All-fem the-fem food-masc
- tanto zozobra … (Speaker UT002, LB)So-much-masc unstability-fem
- este caperucita está entrando … (Speaker UT030, M)This-masc little-riding-hood-fem is entering
- y eso cosas como eso … (Speaker UT054, EB)And this-masc things-fem like this-masc
3.3. Combined Results
4.1. Hypothesis Evaluation
4.2. General Discussion
Conflicts of Interest
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Although no tokens had to be discarded from the reading task, we excluded 72 single vowel tokens from the narrative which were produced with creaky voice.
As explained by Haynes and Taylor (2014), these are measurements of overlap and not of statistical significance. As in Haynes and Taylor’s study, we are not interested in statistical differences but in the extent to which vocalic spaces overlap, because a greater degree of overlap suggests that the vowels are articulated similarly.
Hiatus also differ from diphthongs in the duration and trajectory of formant transitions (e.g., Aguilar 1999).
Only these sequences were analyzed because (i) the first vowel was unstressed and (ii) they appeared in the reading task and in the narrative.
Frozen expressions such as Fin, Colorín Colorado (‘the end’) and lugar (‘place’) in the prepositional locution en lugar de (‘in lieu of’) were excluded from the analysis.
The morphosyntactic coding was conducted by one of the authors and then was verified by another author. As concerns the error count, this was first checked by one investigator, then re-checked by a second author, and discrepancies (N = 2) were solved by a third author.
The combined analysis only included data from the narrative because we are interested in comparing vowel quality and gender accuracy. The reading task, instead, is not clearly reflecting participants’ grammatical knowledge.
Results regarding the vowel [e] in the narrative should be interpreted with caution, because this vowel represents only 10% of the total tokens.
Note that only sequences that were realized as diphthongs in all groups were analyzed.
We focus on these two vowels, given that we had a larger number of tokens than for /e/ and that 80% of the nouns that were marked for gender in the story had these vowels.
EB_predictable = 2.15; EB_non-predictable = 1.33; LB_predictable = 3.08; LB_non-predictable = 2.43; mono_predictable = 2.91; mono_non-predictable = 1.80.
|Early Bilinguals (EB) |
(n = 13; Female = 7)
|Late Bilinguals (LB) |
(n = 13; Female = 9)
|Monolinguals (M) |
(n = 11; Female = 10)
|Mean age at testing (SD)||23 (2.64)||38 (13.46)||25 (11.13)|
|Mean AOA (SD)||2.5 (3.6)||23 (9.37)||20 (4.23)|
|Mean LOR (SD)||21 (2.95)||16 (9.6)||08 (0.8)|
|Self-Proficiency||English = 3.73/4|
Spanish = 2.9/4
|English = 2.9/4|
Spanish = 3.9/4
|English = 1.43/4|
Spanish = 4/4
|Most comfortable in||8%||46%||46%||77%||0%||23%||100%||0%||0%|
|Group||Affinity (0–1)||(Convex Hulls) Overlap (%)|
|Group||Affinity (0–1)||(Convex Hulls) Overlap (%)|
|Determiner||All Gendered Nouns||Only Alternating Nouns|
|Context||All Nouns||Only Gendered Nouns in Alternation|
|Preceding Article||No Syntactic Cues||Preceding Article||No Syntactic Cues|
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Colantoni, L.; Martínez, R.; Mazzaro, N.; Pérez-Leroux, A.T.; Rinaldi, N. A Phonetic Account of Spanish-English Bilinguals’ Divergence with Agreement. Languages 2020, 5, 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040058
Colantoni L, Martínez R, Mazzaro N, Pérez-Leroux AT, Rinaldi N. A Phonetic Account of Spanish-English Bilinguals’ Divergence with Agreement. Languages. 2020; 5(4):58. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040058Chicago/Turabian Style
Colantoni, Laura, Ruth Martínez, Natalia Mazzaro, Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, and Natalia Rinaldi. 2020. "A Phonetic Account of Spanish-English Bilinguals’ Divergence with Agreement" Languages 5, no. 4: 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040058