Volume 11, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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Bilinguals’ attitudes toward their languages can be a major source of linguistic variability. However, the effect of attitudes on crosslinguistic phonetic interactions in bilinguals remains largely unexplored. This study investigated the possibility of such effects in Cantonese-English bilinguals in Hong Kong ( = 26). Participants produced near-homophones in each language on separate days. Formant values of Cantonese [ɐ] and English [ʌ] and degrees of diphthongization of Cantonese [o] and [ai], and English [oʊ] and [ai], were analyzed as a function of language proficiency, use, and language attitude scores drawn from a background questionnaire. Participants’ attitudes toward Cantonese were predictive of the acoustic difference between similar Cantonese and Hong Kong English (HKE) vowels: More Cantonese-oriented speakers produced greater acoustic distance between crosslinguistically similar vowels. No effects of English attitudes, proficiency, or use were found. These results demonstrate that bilinguals’ attitude toward their native language can affect the degree of phonetic similarity between the two languages they speak.


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