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/l/ production in English-Arabic bilingual speakers

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ghada Khattab


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This paper reports an analysis of /l/ production by English-Arabic bilingual children. It addresses the question of whether the bilingual develops one phonological system or two by calling for a refinement of the notion of a system using insights from recent phonetic and sociolinguistic work on variability in speech. The bilingual subjects that were chosen for the study are three Lebanese children aged 5, 7, and 10, all born and raised in Yorkshire, England. Monolingual friends of the same age were chosen as controls, and the parents of all bilingual and monolingual children were also taped to obtain a detailed assessment of the sound patterns available in the subjects' environment. The bilinguals were taped in different language sessions with different interviewers. /l/ was chosen due to the existence of different patterns for clear and dark variants in its production in English and Arabic that vary according to contextual and dialectal factors. Results show that bilinguals have developed separate/l/ production patterns for each of their languages that are similar to those of monolinguals, and that the interaction between their two languages is restricted to the bilingual mode and is a sign of their sociolinguistic competence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Khattab G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Bilingualism

Year: 2002

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Pages: 335-353

ISSN (print): 1367-0069

ISSN (electronic): 1756-6878

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/13670069020060030701


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