"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more
To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.
This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.
The Effects of Bilingualism on Children’s Perception of Speech Sounds
This thesis investigates whether bilingualism affects children’s perceptual
acquisition of the speech sounds of their native languages. The term
bilingual is used here as synonymous with simultaneously bilingual, i.e.
those speakers of (typically) two languages who have been exposed to both
languages from birth.
This study takes an experimental approach. Bilingual and monolingual
children and adults participated on a longitudinal study in which their
perception of a Dutch vowel contrast was tested. Participants’ responses
were analysed in terms of cue reliance, i.e. how much they rely on
different acoustic cues in their perception of a speech contrast. The
results discussed here suggest that, although at a certain point in their
development bilingual and monolingual children have identical perceptual
behaviour, they differ in their developmental paths. This finding is in
line with the main literature on bilingual perceptual development. However,
the findings in this study are unusual in how this difference takes places.
Although patterns of bilingual delay and acceleration have both been
previously attested, the bilingual learners in the current study show both
patterns simultaneously, regarding different acoustic properties on the
perception of the same contrast. This thesis claims that the difference
found between bilingual and monolingual children is the consequence of two
factors: (i) the nature of the language input to the learner, and (ii) the
interaction between the bilinguals’ linguistic systems. The study presented
in this dissertation is of interest to researchers working on bilingualism,
language development and speech perception in general.