Part VI. Prosody and context

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This paper examines bilingual speech production and constitutes part of an investigation designed to address two separate but interconnected questions. First, do different aspects of prosody relate differently to different syntactic categories? Second, do syntax-prosody correspondences differ between the two languages of a bilingual, and is this modulated by language history? Participants were native speakers of Spanish who were also early acquirers of English, exposed to the language from birth or from between 4 and 6 years of age. They read aloud translation-equivalent passages in English and Spanish. Acoustic analyses of the recorded speech examined phrasing (as indexed in pause durations between words) at key syntactic boundaries throughout the passage. The data demonstrate that early acquirers of English have similar phrasing preferences in both English and Spanish, based on syntactic boundaries. However, reading in Spanish is more disfluent, particularly for participants with less formal exposure to the language.


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