image of Bilinguals produce language-specific voice onset time in two true-voicing languages



It is well established that early bilinguals who speak languages that differ in the phonetic implementation of the voicing contrast have language-specific voicing systems. This study investigates voicing separation in bilinguals who speak two true-voicing languages, Basque and Spanish. We also describe the voicing system in Gipuzkoan Spanish and Gipuzkoan Basque, which is the closest dialect to Standard Basque and it has not yet been investigated experimentally. Twenty Basque-Spanish early bilingual speakers of Gipuzkoan dialects participated in two picture naming tasks. We described their voicing system by measuring voice onset time (VOT) in both Gipuzkoan Basque and Spanish, and used linear mixed-effects models to investigate between-language production differences. Our results show for the first time that adult early bilinguals who speak two true-voicing languages produce language-specific VOT in ‘voiced’ plosives. This finding demonstrates that bilinguals’ phonetic systems during production are more fine-grained than previously assumed, and contributes to a deeper understanding of granularity in early bilingual phonetic systems.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Abramson, A. S., & Lisker, L.
    (1973) Voice-timing perception in Spanish word-initial stops. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1016/S0095‑4470(19)31372‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0095-4470(19)31372-5 [Google Scholar]
  2. Allen, J. S., Miller, J. L., & DeSteno, D.
    (2003) Individual talker differences in voice-onset-time. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.1528172
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1528172 [Google Scholar]
  3. Antoniou, M., Best, C. T., Tyler, M. D., & Kroos, C.
    (2010) Language context elicits native-like stop voicing in early bilinguals’ productions in both L1 and L2. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1016/j.wocn.2010.09.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2010.09.005 [Google Scholar]
  4. Azurmendi, M. J., Larrañaga, N., & Apalategi, J.
    (2008) Bilingualism, identity and citizenship in the Basque Country. InM. Niño-Murcia & J. Rothman (Eds.), Bilingualism and identity (pp.–). John Benjamins. 10.1075/sibil.37.05azu
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.37.05azu [Google Scholar]
  5. Barr, D. J., Levy, R., Scheepers, C., & Tily, H. J.
    (2013) Random effects structure for confirmatory hypothesis testing: Keep it maximal. Journal of memory and language, (), –. 10.1016/j.jml.2012.11.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2012.11.001 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bartoń, K.
    (2019) MuMIn: Multi-model inference. R Package Version 1.43.6.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Basque Government
    Basque Government (2016) VI. Inkesta Soziolinguistikoa Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa [6. The Sociolinguistic Survey of the Basque Autonomous Community]. Vitoria-Gasteiz. Retrieved fromwww.euskara.euskadi.eus/contenidos/nota_prensa/vi_inkesta_sozioling_2016/eu_def/adjuntos/vi_inkesta_eu.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Bates, D. M., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S.
    (2015) Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software, (), –. 10.18637/jss.v067.i01
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01 [Google Scholar]
  9. Berry, J., & Moyle, M.
    (2011) Covariation among vowel height effects on acoustic measures. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.3651095
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3651095 [Google Scholar]
  10. Boersma, P., & Weenink, D.
    (2013) Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program].
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Cabrelli, J.
    (in press). Language attrition and L3/Ln. InJ. Cabrelli, A. Chaouch Orozco, J. González Alonso, E. Puig Mayenco, S. Pereira Soares, & J. Rothman Eds. The Cambridge handbook of third language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Caramazza, A., Yeni-Komshian, G. H., Zurif, E. B., & Carbone, E.
    (1973) The acquisition of a new phonological contrast: The case of stop consonants in French-English bilinguals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.1913594
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1913594 [Google Scholar]
  13. Castañeda Vicente, M. L.
    (1986) El V.O.T. de las Oclusivas Sordas y Sonoras Españolas. Estudios de Fonética Experimental, (), –.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Cenoz, J.
    (2008) The status of Basque in the Basque country. InM. Barni & G. Extra (Eds.), Mapping Linguistic Diversity in Multicultural Contexts (pp.–). Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110207347.2.93
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110207347.2.93 [Google Scholar]
  15. Chang, C. B., Yao, Y., Haynes, E. F., & Rhodes, R.
    (2011) Production of phonetic and phonological contrast by heritage speakers of Mandarin. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.3569736
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3569736 [Google Scholar]
  16. Cheng, A.
    (2020) Cross-linguistic f0 differences in bilingual speakers of English and Korean. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/10.0000498
    https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0000498 [Google Scholar]
  17. Cho, T., & Ladefoged, P.
    (1999) Variation and universals in VOT: evidence from 18 languages. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1006/jpho.1999.0094
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jpho.1999.0094 [Google Scholar]
  18. de Bruin, A., Carreiras, M., & Duñabeitia, J. A.
    (2017) The BEST dataset of language proficiency. Frontiers in Psychology, . 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00522
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00522 [Google Scholar]
  19. Duñabeitia, J. A., Crepaldi, D., Meyer, A. S., New, B., Pliatsikas, C., Smolka, E., & Brysbaert, M.
    (2018) MultiPic: A standardized set of 750 drawings with norms for six European languages. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, (), –. 10.1080/17470218.2017.1310261
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2017.1310261 [Google Scholar]
  20. Egurtzegi, A., & Carignan, C.
    (2020) An acoustic description of Mixean Basque. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/10.0000996
    https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0000996 [Google Scholar]
  21. Esposito, A.
    (2002) On Vowel Height and Consonantal Voicing Effects: Data from Italian. Phonetica, (), –. 10.1159/000068347
    https://doi.org/10.1159/000068347 [Google Scholar]
  22. Etxebarria, M.
    (1987) Iniciación a la fonética acústica. “Euskal Filología”. Cursos de Verano UPV/EHU, –.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Flege, J. E.
    (1995) Second-language speech learning: theory, findings, and problem. InW. Strange (Ed.), Speech perception and linguistic experience: Issues in cross-language research (pp.–). Timonium, MD: York Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Flege, J. E., & Bohn, O.-S.
    (2021) The Revised Speech Learning Model (SLM-r). InR. Wayland (Ed.), Second Language Speech Learning (pp.–). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781108886901.002
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108886901.002 [Google Scholar]
  25. Flege, J. E., & Eefting, W.
    (1987a) Cross-language switching in stop consonant perception and production by Dutch speakers of english. Speech Communication, (), –. 10.1016/0167‑6393(87)90025‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-6393(87)90025-2 [Google Scholar]
  26. (1987b) Production and perception of English stops by native Spanish speakers. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1016/S0095‑4470(19)30538‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0095-4470(19)30538-8 [Google Scholar]
  27. Flege, J. E., Frieda, E. M., Walley, A. C., & Randazza, L. A.
    (1998) Lexical factors and segmental accuracy in second language speech production. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, (), –. 10.1017/S0272263198002034
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263198002034 [Google Scholar]
  28. Flege, J. E., Munro, M. J., & MacKay, I. R. A.
    (1995) Factors affecting strength of perceived foreign accent in a second language. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.413041
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.413041 [Google Scholar]
  29. Flege, J. E., Yeni-komshian, G. H., & Liu, S.
    (1999) Age Constraints on Second-Language Acquisition. Journal of Memory and Language, , –. 10.1006/jmla.1999.2638
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1999.2638 [Google Scholar]
  30. Fowler, C. A., Sramko, V., Ostry, D. J., Rowland, S. A., & Hallé, P.
    (2008) Cross language phonetic influences on the speech of French–English bilinguals. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1016/j.wocn.2008.04.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2008.04.001 [Google Scholar]
  31. Francis, A. L., Ciocca, V., & Ching Yu, J. M.
    (2003) Accuracy and variability of acoustic measures of voicing onset. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.1536169
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1536169 [Google Scholar]
  32. Gaminde, I., Hualde, J. I., & Salaberria, J.
    (2002) Zubereraren herskariak : azterketa akustikoa. Lapurdum, (), –. 10.4000/lapurdum.1000
    https://doi.org/10.4000/lapurdum.1000 [Google Scholar]
  33. Hazan, V. L., & Boulakia, G.
    (1993) Perception and production of a voicing contrast by french-english bilinguals. Language and Speech, (), –. 10.1177/002383099303600102
    https://doi.org/10.1177/002383099303600102 [Google Scholar]
  34. Herd, W.
    (2020) Sociophonetic voice onset time variation in Mississippi English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/10.0000545
    https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0000545 [Google Scholar]
  35. Hopp, H., & Schmid, M. S.
    (2013) Perceived foreign accent in first language attrition and second language acquisition: The impact of age of acquisition and bilingualism. Applied Psycholinguistics, (), –. 10.1017/S0142716411000737
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716411000737 [Google Scholar]
  36. Hualde, J. I.
    (1991) Basque Phonology. Routledge. 10.4324/9780203168004
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203168004 [Google Scholar]
  37. (2015) Basque as an extinct language. InB. Fernández & P. Salaburu (Eds.), Ibon Sarasola, gorazarre: homenatge, homenaje (pp.–). University of the Basque Country.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. (2018) Aspiration in Basque. Papers in Historical Phonology, , –. 10.2218/pihph.3.2018.2602
    https://doi.org/10.2218/pihph.3.2018.2602 [Google Scholar]
  39. Hualde, J. I., & Ortiz de Urbina, J.
    (2003) A Grammar of Basque. Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110895285
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110895285 [Google Scholar]
  40. Hurch, B.
    (1988) Is Basque a syllable-timed language?. International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology, (), –.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Kang, K.-H., & Guion, S. G.
    (2006) Phonological systems in bilinguals: Age of learning effects on the stop consonant systems of Korean-English bilinguals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.2166607
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.2166607 [Google Scholar]
  42. Kessinger, R. H., & Blumstein, S. E.
    (1997) Effects of speaking rate on voice-onset time in Thai, French, and English. Journal of phonetics, (), –. 10.1006/jpho.1996.0039
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jpho.1996.0039 [Google Scholar]
  43. Kroll, J. F., Bobb, S. C., & Wodniecka, Z.
    (2006) Language selectivity is the exception, not the rule: Arguments against a fixed locus of language selection in bilingual speech. Bilingualism, (), –. 10.1017/S1366728906002483
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728906002483 [Google Scholar]
  44. Kupisch, T., Barton, D., Hailer, K., Klaschik, E., Stangen, I., Lein, T., & van de Weijer, J.
    (2014) Foreign Accent in Adult Simultaneous Bilinguals. Heritage Language Journal, (), –. 10.46538/hlj.11.2.2
    https://doi.org/10.46538/hlj.11.2.2 [Google Scholar]
  45. Kupisch, T., Lein, T., Barton, D., Schröder, D. J., Stangen, I., & Stoehr, A.
    (2014) Acquisition outcomes across domains in adult simultaneous bilinguals with French as weaker and stronger language. Journal of French Language Studies, (), –. 10.1017/S0959269513000197
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959269513000197 [Google Scholar]
  46. Kupisch, T., & Lleó, C.
    (2017) Voice onset time in German-Italian simultaneous bilinguals: Evidence on crosslanguage influence and markedness. InM. S. Yavaş, M. Kehoe & W. Cardoso (Eds.), Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology (pp.–). Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, P. B., & Christensen, R. H. B.
    (2017) lmerTest Package: Tests in Linear Mixed Effects Models. Journal of Statistical Software, (). 10.18637/jss.v082.i13
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v082.i13 [Google Scholar]
  48. Law, W. L., Dmitrieva, O., & Francis, A. L.
    (2021) Language attitudes modulate phonetic interactions between languages in bilingual speakers in diglossic settings. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, (), –. 10.1075/lab.18085.law
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.18085.law [Google Scholar]
  49. Lenth, R., Singmann, H., Love, J., Buerkner, P., & Herve, M.
    (2020) Package ‘ emmeans.’ CRAN Repository.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Lisker, L., & Abramson, A. S.
    (1964) A Cross-Language Study of Voicing in Initial Stops: Acoustical Measurements. WORD, (), –. 10.1080/00437956.1964.11659830
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1964.11659830 [Google Scholar]
  51. (1967) Some Effects of Context On Voice Onset Time in English Stops. Language and Speech, (), –. 10.1177/002383096701000101
    https://doi.org/10.1177/002383096701000101 [Google Scholar]
  52. Llama, R., & Cardoso, W.
    (2018) Revisiting (Non-)Native Influence in VOT Production: Insights from Advanced L3 Spanish. Languages, (), . 10.3390/languages3030030
    https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030030 [Google Scholar]
  53. Lüdecke, D., Ben-Shachar, M., Patil, I., Waggoner, P., & Makowski, D.
    (2021) “performance: An R Package for Assessment, Comparison and Testing of Statistical Models.” Journal of Open Source Software, (), . 10.21105/joss.03139
    https://doi.org/10.21105/joss.03139 [Google Scholar]
  54. Maddieson, I.
    (1984) The size and structure of phonological inventories. InI. Maddieson (Ed.), Patterns of Sounds (pp.–). Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511753459.003
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511753459.003 [Google Scholar]
  55. Martínez Adrián, M., Gallardo del Puerto, F., & Gutiérrez Mangado, J.
    (2013) Phonetic and syntactic transfer effects in the English interlanguage of Basque/Spanish bilinguals. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics, (), –.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Mathôt, S., Schreij, D., & Theeuwes, J.
    (2012) OpenSesame: An open-source, graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. Behavior Research Methods, , –. 10.3758/s13428‑011‑0168‑7
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-011-0168-7 [Google Scholar]
  57. Mayr, R., & Montanari, S.
    (2014) Cross-linguistic interaction in trilingual phonological development: The role of the input in the acquisition of the voicing contrast. Journal of Child Language, (), –. 10.1017/S0305000914000592
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000914000592 [Google Scholar]
  58. Mayr, R., & Siddika, A.
    (2018) Inter-generational transmission in a minority language setting: Stop consonant production by Bangladeshi heritage children and adults. International Journal of Bilingualism, (), –. 10.1177/1367006916672590
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1367006916672590 [Google Scholar]
  59. Moreno, A., & Mariño, J. B.
    (1998) Spanish dialects: phonetic transcription. ICSLP 1998. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, (Icslp 98), –. Retrieved fromwww.shlrc.mq.edu.au/proceedings/icslp98/PDF/AUTHOR/SL980598.PDF. 10.21437/ICSLP.1998‑227
    https://doi.org/10.21437/ICSLP.1998-227 [Google Scholar]
  60. Mounole, C.
    (2004) Zubererazko herskarien azterketa akustikoa. International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology, (), –.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Nash, J. C.
    (2014) On Best Practice Optimization Methods in R. Journal of Statistical Software, (), –. 10.18637/jss.v060.i02
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v060.i02 [Google Scholar]
  62. Nearey, T. M., & Rochet, B. L.
    (1994) Effects of Place of Articulation and Vowel Context on VOT Production and Perception for French and English Stops. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, (), –. 10.1017/S0025100300004965
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025100300004965 [Google Scholar]
  63. Oh, J. S., Jun, S. A., Knightly, L. M., & Au, T. K. F.
    (2003) Holding on to childhood language memory. Cognition, (). 10.1016/S0010‑0277(02)00175‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00175-0 [Google Scholar]
  64. Osborne, D. M., & Simonet, M.
    (2021) Foreign-language phonetic development leads to first-language phonetic drift: plosive consonants in native Portuguese speakers learning English as a foreign language in Brazil. Languages, (), . 10.3390/languages6030112
    https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030112 [Google Scholar]
  65. Qi, R., Tsukada, K., & Hua, Z.
    (2012) An Acoustic Phonetic Analysis of Word-Initial Stop Production by Young Simultaneous Mandarin-English Bilingual Children. Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing, (), –. 10.1179/136132812805253730
    https://doi.org/10.1179/136132812805253730 [Google Scholar]
  66. R Core Team
    R Core Team (2020) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria. Retrieved fromhttps://www.R-project.org/
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Robb, M., Gilbert, H., & Lerman, J.
    (2005) Influence of gender and environmental setting on voice onset time. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, (), –. 10.1159/000084133
    https://doi.org/10.1159/000084133 [Google Scholar]
  68. Rosner, B. S., López-Bascuas, L. E., García-Albea, J. E., & Fahey, R. P.
    (2000) Voice-onset times for Castilian Spanish initial stops. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1006/jpho.2000.0113
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jpho.2000.0113 [Google Scholar]
  69. RStudio Team
    RStudio Team (2020) RStudio: Integrated Development Environment for R. Boston, MA. Retrieved fromwww.rstudio.com/
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Ryalls, J., Zipprer, A., & Baldauff, P.
    (1997) A preliminary investigation of the effects of gender and race on voice onset time. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, (), –. 10.1044/jslhr.4003.642
    https://doi.org/10.1044/jslhr.4003.642 [Google Scholar]
  71. Schuhmann, K. S., & Huffman, M. K.
    (2019) Development of L2 Spanish VOT before and after a brief pronunciation training session. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, (), –. 10.1075/jslp.18018.sch
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jslp.18018.sch [Google Scholar]
  72. Stewart, M.
    (1999) The Spanish language today. Routledge. 10.4324/9780203282434
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203282434 [Google Scholar]
  73. Stoehr, A., Benders, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P.
    (2017) Second language attainment and first language attrition: The case of VOT in immersed Dutch–German late bilinguals. Second Language Research, (), –. 10.1177/0267658317704261
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658317704261 [Google Scholar]
  74. Sundara, M., Polka, L., & Baum, S.
    (2006) Production of coronal stops by simultaneous bilingual adults. Bilingualism, (), –. 10.1017/S1366728905002403
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728905002403 [Google Scholar]
  75. Swartz, B. L.
    (1992) Gender Difference in Voice Onset Time. Perceptual and Motor Skills, (). 10.2466/pms.1992.75.3.983
    https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.1992.75.3.983 [Google Scholar]
  76. Torreira, F.
    (2012) Investigating the nature of aspirated stops in Western Andalusian Spanish. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, (), –. 10.1017/S0025100311000491
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025100311000491 [Google Scholar]
  77. Troya Déniz, M.
    (2005) El VOT de las oclusivas sordas en la norma culta de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Boletín de Lingüística de La Universidad Central de Venezuela, , –.
    [Google Scholar]
  78. Toscano, J. C., McMurray, B., Dennhardt, J., & Luck, S. J.
    (2010) Continuous perception and graded categorization: Electrophysiological evidence for a linear relationship between the acoustic signal and perceptual encoding of speech. Psychological science, (), –. 10.1177/0956797610384142
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610384142 [Google Scholar]
  79. Volaitis, L. E., & Miller, J. L.
    (1992) Phonetic prototypes: Influence of place of articulation and speaking rate on the internal structure of voicing categories. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, (), –. 10.1121/1.403997
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.403997 [Google Scholar]
  80. Watson, I.
    (2007) Simultaneous bilinguals and Flege’s Speech Learning Model. InProceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Saarbrucken, 6–10August 2007, –.
    [Google Scholar]
  81. Wickham, H.
    (2011) ggplot2. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics, (). 10.1002/wics.147
    https://doi.org/10.1002/wics.147 [Google Scholar]
  82. Williams, L.
    (1977a) The perception of stop consonant voicing by Spanish-English bilinguals. Perception & Psychophysics, (), –. 10.3758/BF03199477
    https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03199477 [Google Scholar]
  83. (1977b) The voicing contrast in Spanish. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1016/S0095‑4470(19)31127‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0095-4470(19)31127-1 [Google Scholar]
  84. Yang, J.
    (2021) Comparison of VOTs in Mandarin–English bilingual children and corresponding monolingual children and adults. Second Language Research, (), –. 10.1177/0267658319851820
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658319851820 [Google Scholar]
  85. Yeni-Komshian, G. H., Caramazza, A., & Preston, M. S.
    (1977) A study of voicing in Lebanese Arabic. Journal of Phonetics, (), –. 10.1016/S0095‑4470(19)31112‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0095-4470(19)31112-X [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error