Using whole-word production measures to determine the influence of phonotactic probability and neighborhood density on bilingual speech production

Skott E. Freedman, Ithaca College
Jessica A. Barlow, San Diego State University

Abstract

Numerous lexical and sublexical factors have been reported to influence speech production in monolinguals (Storkel, 2001; Vitevitch, 2002); however, whole-word production analyses have rarely been used to measure such influences. The present study investigated the effects of phonotactic probability and neighborhood density on bilingual speech production using whole-word production measures (Ingram, 2002). Five typically developing English-Spanish bilingual children were administered a picture-naming task in English and Spanish in which stimuli varied in sublexical and lexical parameters. Their English and Spanish productions were compared with those of five age-matched monolingual English- and Spanish-speaking children, respectively. No differences were found between bilinguals and monolinguals in the respective languages; however, bilinguals evidenced greater phonological complexity in Spanish than English on words with low phonotactic probability and low neighborhood density. Whole-word approximation remained similar between languages. Findings are interpreted in the context of crosslinguistic influences of sublexical and lexical factors on speech production. © The Author(s) 2011.