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Book: Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology

Chapter: Voice Onset Time in German-Italian Simultaneous Bilinguals: Evidence on Cross-Language Influence and Markedness

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27357


This study aims to investigate whether the language spoken in the childhood environment has some effect on the development and maintenance of the phonetic systems of simultaneous bilinguals. More specifically, we analyze the Voice Onset Time (VOT) of semi-spontaneous productions of the voiceless stop /k/ by 14 German-Italian bilinguals, who grew up in either Germany or Italy. Results indicate that most speakers have distinct VOT ranges in their two languages, which are within those of monolinguals, i.e. short lag in Italian and long lag in German. This even holds for their minority language, in spite of the fact that it is spoken with a perceivable foreign accent.

Chapter Contributors

  • Tanja Kupisch ( - tkupisch) 'University of Konstanz'
  • Conxita LleĆ³ ( - conxita) 'University of Hamburg (Retired)'