Article published in:Prosodic Issues in Language Contact Situations
Edited by Yolanda Congosto Martín and Laura Morgenthaler
[Spanish in Context 16:3] 2019
► pp. 419–437
Rhythmic variability in Spanish/English bilinguals in California
In this study two techniques were used to analyze the linguistic rhythm of Mexican Spanish/English bilinguals in Los Angeles (California): (i)-nPVI, consisting of measurements of durations of successive pairs of vowels, and (ii)-voicing ratios, consisting of a function that calculates the voiced and voiceless portions of the signal. The speech of forty-nine participants in five groups was examined: (G1)-twelve native speakers of English, (G2)-eight Mexican Sp/Eng adult bilinguals who have been in L.A. since childhood, (G3)-eleven Mexican Sp/Eng young bilinguals descendants of immigrants and born in L.A., (G4)-seven Mexican Sp/Eng adult bilinguals who moved to L.A. as adults and (G5)-eleven native speakers of Spanish who have stayed in L.A. for a short period of time. Both methodologies indicate that G1 and G2 show English-like rhythm in both languages while G4 and G5 present Spanish-like rhythm. G3 accommodates rhythm depending on the language. Results reveal how rhythm can suffer attrition and transfer processes depending on the age or length of exposure to the L2. The study also highlights the unique linguistic situation of Los Angeles where members of the Mexican community have different levels of exposure to the Spanish and English languages.
Keywords: rhythm, bilingualism, Spanish
Published online: 17 January 2020
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