Cross-language phonetic priming in bilinguals.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis looks at cross-language phonetic priming effects on late L1-dominant bilinguals, with different degrees of proficiency within the group. The participants in the study are 14 Chinese-English late bilinguals, whose production of vowels and consonants in different priming language contexts was analysed. The 14 speakers were divided into two groups based on their language proficiency. Information collected from questionnaires in two different languages was used to divide them into the two groups. They were required to participate in the experiment in two different sessions. On one occasion the interviewer spoke English to them and this was followed by their English reading and Chinese reading; whereas on the other occasion the interviewer spoke Chinese and the subjects did the opposite reading order from the first condition. Significant results of the analyses show that non-early, L1-dominant bilinguals do not differ in proficiency across priming conditions. Both groups show significant changes as the result of language priming for exactly the same vowels and the same consonants. Significant changes in the production of the sounds reveal interference between certain L2 sounds and their L1 counterparts. However, near significant results also show an unexpected direction of changes in production in L2, which may have been caused by experimenter identity. Furthermore, transfer effects of L1 on L2 found only among high proficiency speakers suggest that inhibitory control is dependent on L2 proficiency.