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Maturational constraints in Bilingual speech

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... Recently, however, the finding that individuals who acquired the L2 during childhood do not always converge fully with native speakers has called into question age of acquisition as the cause of such near-native (rather than fully nativelike) attainment. As an alternative explanation, it has been suggested that, rather than age of acquisition, bilingualismin the sense of either bilingual acquisition, bilingual use, or bothaccounts for the subtle non-native features in early-learner ultimate attainment, and, by inference, also the near-nativeness of exceptionally advanced adult L2 learners (e.g., Birdsong, 2018;Birdsong & Quinto-Pozos, 2018;de Leeuw, 2014;Ortega, 2010Ortega, , 2013Pfenninger & Singleton, 2017). This suggestion relates to the fact that most studies on nativelike attainment compare L2 speakers who have retained their first language (L1), and therefore are functionally bilingual, with native speakers who are functionally monolingual, thus effectively confounding age of acquisition effects with bilingualism effects. ...
... In a similar fashion, Vanhove (2013) holds that "the linguistic repertoires of mono-and bilinguals differ by definition and differences in the behavioural outcome will necessarily be found, if only one digs deep enough" (p. 2), and he warns us against raising the bar for highly accomplished L2 learners "to Swiftian extremes" (ibid.). 2 Consequently, and in line with what has been launched as "the bi/multilingual turn in SLA" (Ortega, 2010(Ortega, , 2013, the very comparison with monolingual speakers has been deemed theoretically misguided and it has been recommended that it should be abandoned in CPH (or, even, all SLA) research; since 'nativelike' is considered synonymous with 'monolingual-like', the expected maximal 'bilingual-like' ultimate attainment should be equivalent to what has hitherto been (mis)taken for 'near-native' proficiency, regardless of learners' AoA. Accordingly, it has been suggested by several authors (e.g., Birdsong, 2005Birdsong, , 2018de Leeuw, 2014;Ortega, 2010Ortega, , 2013Cook, 1999Cook, , 2003Cook, , 2016Muñoz & Singleton, 2011) that the comparative standard should be shifted from monolingual language proficiency to the simultaneously acquired bilingual ultimate attainment of 'crib bilinguals'. For example, de Leeuw (2014) sees the conclusions in Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2009) as premature, as the study potentially suffered from monolingual-speaker bias. ...
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It has recently been suggested that bilingualism, rather than age of acquisition, is what underlies less than nativelike attainment in childhood L2 acquisition. Currently, however, the empirical evidence in favor of or against this interpretation remains scarce. The present study sets out to fill this gap, implementing a novel factorial design in which the variables age of acquisition and bilingualism have been fully crossed. Eighty speakers of Swedish, who were either L1 monolinguals, L1 simultaneous bilinguals, L2 sequential monolinguals (international adoptees), or L2 sequential bilinguals (childhood immigrants), were tested on phonetic, grammatical, and lexical measures. The results indicate consistent effects of age of acquisition, but only limited effects of bilingualism, on ultimate attainment. These findings thus show that age of acquisition – not bilingualism – is the primary determinant of L2 ultimate attainment.
... herefore, for the development of the L2 phonemic system earlier is better as far as the onset of bilingualism is concerned (e.g., Flege, Schirru, & MacKay, 2003;McCarthy, Evans, & Mahon, 2013). However, to de Leeuw (2014), in spite of the fact that usually "a language acquired early in life is done more 'successfully' than a language learned late in life, there is, in principle, nothing which categorically prevents a late L2 learner from achieving the same level of proiciency in an L2 as a native speaker" (de Leeuw, 2014, p. 34). Following that angle, there is a robust body of research suggesting that it is possible for late bilinguals to attain native levels in their L2 speech production and perception, as in the studies conducted by Bongaerts, Summeren, Planken, and Schils, (1997), Sancier and Fowler (1997), and Muñoz and Singleton (2007) in which late bilinguals yield L2 production within the same range of the L1-controls. ...
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Adopting a Complex perspective to language, this study explores the correlation between length of residence (LOR) in London and the production of word-initial English voiceless stops by late south Brazilian bilinguals who have an integrative motivation towards the host language and culture. To this end, 12 immigrants are compared to 10 standard southern British English monolinguals. Acoustic analysis of VOT duration is reported. Results demonstrated that immigrants’ VOT values for English are positively correlated with LOR. Bilinguals with the longest LOR revealed a production of English VOT within the range expected for the controls. These findings can be interpreted as evidence for language as a Complex Adaptive System, and for the hypothesis that the neuroplasticity and the cognitive mechanisms for language development remain intact during the lifespan.
... In part, this is due to the frequent ambiguity of age effects on the L1, which can reflect attrition (i.e., loss of L1 knowledge after its successful acquisition), interrupted (or incomplete) acquisition, or both of these processes. One body of research that bears on the study of L1 perceptual attrition in early bilinguals is the literature on L2 effects in late bilinguals, which shows that L2-influenced modifications to the phonetics and/or phonology of the L1 may occur even in learners who acquire a L2 after the age of 18 (de Leeuw, 2014;de Leeuw, Opitz, & Lubińska, 2013). For example, L1 English speakers in their 20s were found to modify several aspects of their L1 production during the first weeks of immersive L2 Korean learning (Chang, 2012(Chang, , 2013b, and similar effects of L2 immersion on the acoustic properties, perceived accent, and/or phonological rule implementation of L1 production have been reported in various late-bilingual populations: L1 English-L2 Portuguese (Major, 1992), L1 Russian-L2 English (Dmitrieva, Jongman, & Sereno, 2010), L1 German-L2 English and L1 German-L2 Dutch (de Leeuw, Mennen, & Scobbie, 2012de Leeuw, Schmid, & Mennen, 2010;Hopp & Schmid, 2013;Schmid & Hopp, 2014), and L1 Dutch-L2 English (Mayr, Price, & Mennen, 2012). ...
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This study investigated how bilinguals’ perception of their first language (L1) differs according to age of reduced contact with L1 after immersion in a second language (L2). Twenty-one L1 Korean-L2 English bilinguals in the United States, ranging in age of reduced contact from 3 to 15 years, and 17 control participants in Korea were tested perceptually on three L1 contrasts differing in similarity to L2 contrasts. Compared to control participants, bilinguals were less accurate on L1-specific contrasts, and their accuracy was significantly correlated with age of reduced contact, an effect most pronounced for the contrast most dissimilar to L2. These findings suggest that the earlier bilinguals are extensively exposed to L2, the less likely they are to perceive L1 sounds accurately. However, this relationship is modulated by crosslinguistic similarity, and a turning point in L2 acquisition and L1 attrition of phonology appears to occur at around age 12.
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This article examines the intersection of ethnicity, class and gender in situated acts of identification of Polish-speaking migrants in the UK through analysis of stop aspiration. Discourse analysis demonstrates that the migrants differently scaled and positioned themselves and others in transnational timespace despite their shared background. This was also accompanied by various orientations to available linguistic resources. Quantitative methods show that both ideology and the language system influenced aspiration with adherence to ‘standard’ Polish norms falling along a continuum from nationally-oriented to ‘Cosmopolitan’ speakers. Female Cosmopolitans relied on English-like VOTs with a tendency to signal (dis)alignment from Poland/the current locality. The study draws attention to the bodily semiotics of self-presentation highlighting the role of phonetic realisations in contemporary processes of value attribution.
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