Predictors of bilinguals´speaking rates

Højen, Anders

11.12.2019 | Lone Amdi Boisen

Second-language acquisition has been shown to be influenced by age of learning (AOL), years of secondlanguage experience and degree of second-language use. This study examined native and second-language speaking rates in a speeded sentence production task; speaking rate was expected to reflect the speed with which processes underlying speech production can be executed. Sixty Spanish-English bilingual adults participated. They differed according to AOL (2–38), years of English Experience (1–45), and percent English Use (10–100). The purpose was to determine the influence of the three just-mentioned factors and their interactions using linear mixed-effects modeling. The primary findings were: (1) a linear AOL effect such that higher AOL predicted lower English relative to Spanish speaking rate (i.e., an AOL effect in both pre- and post-pubescent AOL ranges); (2) opposite effect of English Experience on Spanish and English speaking rates; (3) interaction between Language, AOL and Experience, such that the Experience effect on English speaking rate declined linearly with AOL; (4) a non-significant effect of percent English Use. In addition, strong gender effects and weak education effects were found. The results are discussed in the context of different accounts of AOL-related difficulties with second-language acquisition.

Read the article: Højen, A. (2019). Predictors of bilinguals’ speaking rates. Journal of Phonetics, 77, 100936. doi:/10.1016/j.wocn.2019.100936 (paywall may occur)