Acquisition of British English Connected Speech Patterns in Children with English as an Additional Language: a Comparison of First, Second and Third Generation Migrants
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Aims and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of English connected speech acquisition, specifically vowel reduction, across successive generations of migrants, and examine the role of cross-linguistic, developmental and socio-cultural factors. Design: To this end, using a delayed repetition task, we recorded the English speech of five groups of participants: (1) first generation migrant children, (2) second generation migrant children, (3) third generation migrant children, (4) monolingual children, and (5) monolingual adults Data and analysis: The data were analysed auditorily, using whole-word transcription. Comparisons were then made across the five groups of participants, and by lexical item. Findings: The results revealed that the first and second generation migrant groups were significantly less accurate in their productions of weak forms than the monolingual adult group. The first generation migrant group was also less accurate in their production of strong forms than the monolingual adult group. The third generation migrant group appeared to have reached monolingual standard in their production of weak forms. Although there was a difference between the monolingual child and monolingual adult groups in the accuracy of their productions of weak forms, this was not statistically significant. Originality: This is one of few studies to examine the acquisition of vowel reduction in non-native speakers, and the first to compare results cross-generationally. Implications: These findings give an important insight to second language teachers and Speech and Language Therapists regarding the typical prosody of bilingual children. They also demonstrate the impact of a strong heritage language community on the maintenance of heritage language rhythm patterns.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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