Phonological Dominance In A Bilingual Class-Setting

Document identifier:
Keyword: Bilingualism phonetics measurement
Publication year: 2005
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SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 4 Quality education
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The proposed presentation is a progress report from a project, which is aimed at establishing some phonetic correlates of language dominance in various kinds of bilingual situations. The current object of study is Swedish students starting in classes, which prepare for the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. The IB classes in Sweden are taught in English, except for classes in Swedish and foreign languages. The programme can be regarded as a type of immersion teaching and the students are exposed to and speak a good deal more English then previously. The assumption that students will, on the one hand not “damage” their Swedish, and on the other will improve their English simply by attending an English-medium school will be tested. The linguistic background of the students studied will be established. Their English and Swedish proficiency will be tested according to various parameters (vowel quality, the timing of vowels and consonants in VC sequences, vocabulary mo! bilisation, perceived foreign accent) on arrival at the school, and again after one and three years at the school. The initial recordings are now underway. In a preliminary study involving just three young people who were simultaneously bilingual in Swedish and English, the timing of children\'s pronunciation of (C)VC syllables in Swedish and English was studied. The results of this investigation indicate that it may be possible to establish language dominance in bilingual speakers using timing data. It was found that the three subjects differed systematically in their pronunciation of the target words. One subject (15 years old), who is apparently native-like in both languages, had the V-C timing of both Swedish and English words of a native speaker of English. His brother (17 years old), who has a noticeable Swedish accent in English, pronounced both Swedish and English words in this respect like a native speaker of Swedish. The boys’ sister (9 years old) apparently has native-like timing in both languages. Reference: Cunningham-Andersson, U. 2003 Temporal indicators of language dominance in bilingual children. In: Proceedings from Fonetik 2003, Phonum 9, 77-80, Umeå University


Una Cunningham

Högskolan Dalarna; Engelska
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