The Phonetic Intrusion of the French /r/ in a Reading Aloud Task of Switch Sentences. Comparing Proficient Bilinguals and Second Language Learners: A Pilot Study
Pentony, L. (2014) The Phonetic Intrusion of the French /r/ in a Reading Aloud Task of Switch Sentences. Comparing Proficient Bilinguals and Second Language Learners: A Pilot Study, no. 46.
This experiment investigates the effects of the French /r/ during a reading aloud task of switch sentences in 4 speakers of English and French. It aims to find out the effects of speech rate on the phonetic intrusion of /r/, if the proximity of the English and French /r/ have an effect, and whether proficiency makes this task easier. The 4 participants were asked to read aloud 5 sentences with a proper name, each one repeated twice at different speech rates. Each sentence contained 2 /r/'s. Some sentences required a switch using a French /r/ in the name Robert. Acoustic Analysis was used on the data and the duration, in seconds between the two /r/s, in each sentence was measured. The errors were also qualitatively analysed. The results showed increasing the speech rate did not have a direct effect on the /r/ distance or the amount of errors overall. Normal rate seemed to show a trend where /r/ distance, in the switching condition, did increase. The proximity of the /r/'s in the sentences did not seem to have an effect during switch sentences. The contrasting English/French /r/ placed closely together did not seem to result in durational effects or increased errors. Proficiency also seemed to show no effect. Each speaker was highly variable and the less proficient speakers did not show a greater amount of errors. The investigation highlights the importance of a need for more experimental work on the phonetics and phonology of code switching. There may be methodological reasons why the study did not meet all of its aims and on a larger scale would answer more questions.