BIMU talk in February: Sharon Peperkamp (Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, Paris)

Monday Feb 4th, 15:00-16:30, Room 0.19, Trans 10

Cognitive and social factors in bilingual phonological processing

I will present results from two studies on phonological processing in bilinguals. The first study deals with cognitive factors, and shows that the influence that bilinguals’ L2 exerts on their L1 phonology is modulated by their individual inhibitory skill. Specifically, the lower their inhibitory skill, the more English-French bilinguals exhibit French-like values in the VOT of English stop consonants, both in perception and in production. The second study deals with social factors, and focuses on their role in sound adaptation in loanwords. It consists of two parts. The first part is a sociolinguistic investigation of the adaptation of Spanish loanwords in a Nahuatl village in Mexico. The second part is an experimental investigation of the adaptation of a non-native sound by French speakers, based on a novel methodology in which participants interact in small groups. Together, they show that the donor language’s prestige as well as the dynamics of the interaction among speakers influence whether non-native sounds will be retained or adapted in loanwords.