Phonological priming and phonetic carry-over in two Danish-English bilinguals

Martin J. Ball, Nicola Schmidt-Renfree


In this study we investigate whether the phonetic carry-over effects (or gestural drift) reported in the literature as occurring in the speech of bilinguals after long-term phonological priming (i.e., several months), also occur after short-term priming of less than all hour. Two bilingual
Danish-English speakers were asked to read word lists after being primed for some time in one or other of their languages. In the Danish mode, a number of switches into English occurred in the word-list, and in the English mode switches into Danish were included. The switches allowed the examination of three possible carry-over effects: two with vowels and one with consonants. The results demonstrated no effect with the switches that would require the greatest phonetic change. They also showed that some potential carry-over effects were more likely long-term interference pattems. Acoustic aualysis did suggest that with one of the vowel switches carry-over effects going both ways between Danish and English and English and Danish did occur, although this was clearer with one subject than the other.

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