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Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics

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Fine-grained and probabilistic cross-linguistic influence in the pronunciation of cognates: Evidence from corpus-based spontaneous conversation and experimentally elicited data

Esther L. Brown / Mark Amengual
Published Online: 2015-04-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2015-0003


The present study examines variable realizations of Spanish word-initial voiced and voiceless dental stops in Spanish-English cognate pairs. Employing a variationist approach to naturalistic data, we report significantly decreased likelihood of reduced articulations of word-initial /d/ in cognates in spontaneous bilingual Puerto Rican discourse, and no such probabilistic effect for cognates in monolingual Spanish of the same speech community. Using experimentally controlled elicited data of Spanish word-initial /t/, we also find evidence of significant fine-grained effects of English on the articulations of Spanish cognates in the form of lengthened VOT for Spanish-English bilinguals. These results indicate that cross-language lexical connections affect phonetic categories in the speech production of Spanish-English bilinguals. It is proposed that both fine-grained and probabilistic effects of the phonology of one language on another can be explained within the Exemplar Model of Lexical Representation.

Keywords: bilingualism; cognates; exemplar model; variation; speech production; language contact


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-04-29

Published in Print: 2015-05-01

Citation Information: Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Volume 8, Issue 1, Pages 59–83, ISSN (Online) 2199-3386, ISSN (Print) 1939-0238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2015-0003.

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