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A study of dominance in speech perception and production by German-English bilinguals

Holmes, Frederika Kathinka; (1995) A study of dominance in speech perception and production by German-English bilinguals. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The aim of this study was to characterise the concept of language dominance by a detailed analysis of patterns of cross-language influence in bilingual linguistic processing. The material for this analysis was acquired by testing a group of bilinguals with heterogenous language-acquisition and language-usage patterns in both their languages across a variety of tasks accessing different levels of linguistic encoding and different modalities of language processing. Monolingual controls were also tested in each language. The test battery included perception and production of vowel duration and vowel quality contrasts; a lexical decision and lexical-level metalinguistic judgment task; a test of global accent and a test of syntactic-semantic performance. In addition, detailed information was collected on the language background and language usage of the bilingual subjects, in order to permit an analysis of the interaction of individual variables with patterns of performance. The results showed evidence of extensive cross-language effects in all subjects, regardless of the age or circumstances of bilingual acquisition. This interference was also found to be bidirectional rather than unidirectional, with the second language exerting a significant effect on the primary language as well as vice versa. Further findings were that the extent and nature of cross-language influence was variable across different linguistic levels, and that some subjects experienced greater levels of interference than others. It appears that a certain degree of dominance is protective against some aspects of cross-language influence, and that parameters of variation such as duration of residence in each language environment, educational experience in each language and current language usage patterns interact with subject variables in affecting individual performance. The results are interpreted as contrary to models of bilingualism based on the maturational state hypothesis, but compatible with interference-based models.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A study of dominance in speech perception and production by German-English bilinguals
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; German-English biliguals
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104493
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