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Title:Speech Intelligibility and Bilingualism: The Effects of Age of Acquisition
Author(s):Bott, Sandra Merz
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mack, Molly
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:One of the central questions of second language acquisition research has been what affect age of acquisition has on the language learner's eventual proficiency in a second language. Researchers have tried to determine whether there is a strong correlation between age of onset and fluency in the second language; it has been widely assumed that earlier acquisition will result in native or near-native linguistic skills.
Another area of study in bilingualism research has recently arisen because of the development of advanced computer technology which has given us advanced communication systems. Increasingly, the speech used by these communication systems has been computer-processed or synthesized. Frequently, the listeners of this computer-processed speech are non-native speakers of the language used. This development raises interesting questions concerning how intelligible the medium is to non-native speakers/listeners of the L2 used. And specifically, the question arises whether there are differences in the intelligibility of coded speech based on the age at which the non-native listeners first acquired the L2.
The results of this study suggested that there are differences in performance between non-native listeners based on their age of onset of their L2. The oldest age group, those who had acquired the L2 after the age of 12, performed much worse than those who had acquired the L2 prior to age 12. Statistical analyses of the data revealed that the critical period may occur between the ages of 8 and 9. Even those who had acquired their L2 relatively early (from birth to age 4) were found not to be performing as monolingual listeners of the L2.
Issue Date:1993
Description:151 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9328976
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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