Bilingual Acquisition and Phonological Interaction: Evidence from the Acquisition of Pronunciation by Yorùbá-English Bilingual Children

Boluwaji Oshodi, Taye Olanrewaju Oloro


The typical knowledge of phonological development in bilingual children is limited compared to their monolingual peers; this is due to the interaction between the two linguistic systems in their language faculty. This linguistic interaction accounted for with three hypotheses: deceleration, acceleration and transfer (Paradis and Genesee 1996), is believed to be responsible for their complex phonological outputs. This study examined the acquisition of some Yorùbá names and consonant clusters in English with focus on their pronunciation. With two sets of data collected at an interval of five years at different ages from ten Yorùbá-English bilingual children, findings revealed that all the subjects had problems with most of the Yorùbá names and all the target English words at the first instance. The second set of data revealed conflicting results. While all the subjects pronounced the target Yorùbá names correctly, half of them still mispronounced the target English words. This study revealed that since language learning/acquisition is individually conditioned, age and linguistic interaction potentially affect the phonological outputs of bilingual children, especially in the L2


Bilingual acquisition, interaction, age, Yorùbá names, consonant clusters

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