Cross Linguistic Influence in Bilingual and Monolingual Second Language Acquisition
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The present study combines the two fields of Cross Linguistic Influence (CLI) and simultaneous and early bilingual foreign language learning to examine the spoken data of Dutch monolingual speakers and Dutch/German bilingual speakers of English in terms of Voice Onset Time (VOT) of plosives. Simultaneous and early monolinguals have been shown to have advantages over monolinguals when learning a foreign language due to differences in their linguistic background (Cenoz, 2003; Cenoz, 2011). It has also been argued that CLI is more likely to occur between languages that are typologically close (Jarvis & Odlin, 2000; Odlin, 2013). All three languages in the present study are typologically close. However, Dutch differs from German and English in terms of the voicing contrast. Therefore, it is hypothesised that the bilingual speakers are likely to produce VOTs within the English voicing contrast range thanks to similarities between German and English in the realisation of the voicing contrast resulting in positive CLI. The monolingual speakers are hypothesised to only partially achieve the English voicing contrast (negative CLI), because Dutch has a different realisation of the voicing contrast compared to English. Empirical data support these hypotheses, as the bilinguals’ VOTs were higher than the monolinguals’ in all cases and, thus, closer to the English contrast. However, in certain cases the monolinguals also produced VOTs within the English range.