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Academic Paper

Title: Interlingual influence in bilingual speech: Cognate status effect in a continuum of bilingualism
Author: Mark Amengual
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The present study investigates voice onset times (VOTs) to determine if cognates enhance the cross-language phonetic influences in the speech production of a range of Spanish–English bilinguals: Spanish heritage speakers, English heritage speakers, advanced L2 Spanish learners, and advanced L2 English learners. To answer this question, lexical items with considerable phonological, semantic, and orthographic overlap (cognates) and lexical items with no phonological overlap with their English translation equivalents (non-cognates) were examined. The results indicate that there is a significant effect of cognate status in the Spanish production of VOT by Spanish–English bilinguals. These bilinguals produced /t/ with longer VOT values (more English-like) in the Spanish production of cognates compared to non-cognate words. It is proposed that the exemplar model of lexical representation (Bybee, 2001; Pierrehumbert, 2001) can be extended to include bilingual lexical connections by which cognates facilitate phonetic interference in the bilingual mental lexicon.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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