The present article poses some fundamental questions related to bilingualism and to the acquisition of two phonological components, by very young children. It discusses different types of bilingualism and their outcomes. After a brief consideration of alleged pros and cons of bilingualism brought up in the past decades, two perspectives of bilingualism are sketched—psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic—and certain aspects of bilingual child phonology are presented from each of these points of view. The essential issue is whether different outcomes of bilingual child phonology are predictable, and to find the crucial criteria to support the predictions. Finally, the discussion addresses some basic questions about bilingual acquisition, and ends with a summary of various types of cross-linguistic interaction.
Experimental Design and Data Collection: Socially Stratified Sampling in Laboratory-Based Phonological ExperimentationMethods For Studying Spontaneous SpeechMethods and Experimental Design For Studying Sociophonetic Variation
James M. Scobbie, Jane Stuart-Smith, Natasha Warner, Paul Warren, and Jennifer Hay
The article covers the factors that need to be considered in data collection and analysis related to sociophonetics. The recording methodologies are generally employed for acoustic phonetic analysis, obtaining stimuli for perception studies, or the development of automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems. The map task is used to elicit relatively spontaneous, conversational speech while maintaining considerable control over target words. Perception experiments on reduced speech require stimuli containing reduction, which are even harder to obtain than good spontaneous acoustic recordings. The most direct method for obtaining stimuli is to extract stimuli from large, relatively natural corpora that have been collected using the most spontaneous and conversational speech methods. Another method is to record spontaneous speech, extract usable stimuli, and then bring the same speaker back to read those word strings again as careful speech, out of context. The listeners' reactions to spontaneous vs. careful speech can then be compared using the same targets, with words and voice controlled. Intonation may differ unpredictably between the spontaneous and read utterances. A final method is to record a phonetician intentionally producing reduced and unreduced (careful) forms of target items. Acoustic measurements can partially confirm that stimuli match natural reductions. One of the methods employed to measure the variable and unexpected segments of reduced speech is to transcribe a corpus at phonetic and word levels and then compare the segments in the phonetic transcription to the segments given for the same words in a searchable dictionary.
Prosodic Analysis: Experimental Methods and Paradigms For Prosodic AnalysisData Collection For Prosodic Analysis of Continuous Speech and Dialectal Variation
Pilar Prieto, Brechtje Post, and Francis Nolan
This article presents experimental approaches to prosodic analysis and describes the design and analysis of prosodic corpora of both naturalistic and controlled speech. An important area of investigation within the articulatory phonology framework has used kinematic data of articulator gestures obtained using electromagnetic midsagittal articulography (EMMA) to study the intragestural dynamics of boundary-adjacent lengthening phenomena. This work interprets boundary-adjacent lengthening as a local slowing of the gestures in the immediate vicinity of sufficiently strong prosodic boundaries at multiple levels. Another research area in which facial and gestural articulatory analysis has been performed is that of visual prosody. One method that comes from the study of consonantal contrasts and which has been applied to the study of tonal and intonational contrasts across languages is the categorical perception (CP) paradigm. The CP paradigm involves an identification/classification task in which the listeners have to categorize stimuli taken from a continuum, and a discrimination task in which listeners are asked to judge pairs of stimuli as being either the same or different. The CP paradigm has been applied to tonal languages and intonational languages, boundary tones and pitch accents, and in terms of either differences in peak alignment or differences in pitch height. The gating paradigm methodology is aimed at studying the speakers' online performance with an identification task when only part of the speech signal is available.
Erik R. Thomas
Prosody appears to play a key role in making the speech of many African Americans recognizable, but defining exactly what makes it distinctive has been an elusive goal. Several prosodic features contribute to the overall distinctiveness of African American English (AAE) prosody. Forestressing, the tendency to shift the primary stress in words such as July to the first syllable, is shared with Southern White vernaculars. Research on speech rate has produced ambiguous results. Investigation of prosodic rhythm suggests that early AAE was more syllable-timed than today’s highly stress-timed AAE. Some research has found that some African American groups use the range of F0 values differently from European Americans. Finally, intonation studies have produced substantial evidence that many African Americans show distinctively AAE intonational characteristics, both within utterances and at the end of utterances, but there is no consensus yet on how to describe the features that make AAE intonation distinctive.
Erik R. Thomas and Guy Bailey
Although segmental analyses have not held the prominence of morphosyntactic analyses in studies of African American Language (AAL), they have always maintained an important role. Several consonantal variables are mainstays of studies on AAL. Recent years have seen a blossoming of vocalic research. Some vocalic features, such as the BIN/BEN merger, glide weakening of the BIDE diphthong, and moderate lowering of the BAIT nucleus, are shared with Southern White dialects, and African Americans have carried them to other parts of the United States. For other features, particularly fronting of the BOAT and BOOT vowels and the merger of the BOT and BOUGHT vowels, African Americans typically lag behind neighboring whites in adopting new variants. There are also vocalic shifts, such as raising of the BAT and BUT vowels without significant diphthongization, that have become associated mainly with certain segments of the African American community.
Gerard Docherty and Norma Mendoza-Denton
This article provides a review of sociolinguistic literature on variation, including developments in the interpretation of such variation and the methods used to study it. Phonological variables in the sociolinguistic analysis of phonological variation and change are segmental loci of socially structured variability, broadly equating to a phonemic level of abstraction. The sociolinguistic analysis of a phonological variable is aimed at systematically tracking within and across-speaker variability in a single context with a view to identifying the extent to which such variability is governed by diverse social factors. The analysis in many cases proceeds by scoring the occurrence of a set of auditorily identified variants in order to track the variants of a phonological variable. The large volume of studies of socially correlated phonological variation focuses on the analysis of one language (English), and on a subset of variables, partly as a consequence of the adoption of the phonological variable methodology, and partly arising from the fact that certain variables have been investigated in order to test particular hypotheses regarding variation and change. The sociolinguistic analysis of phonological variables attempts to minimize positionally generated variation in order to capture significant inter/intra-speaker variation in the same context.