Jesus Duarte

Perception of /d/ by Spanish-English Bilinguals

The consonant /d/ in English and Spanish differs in its place of articulation: English has alveolar [d] while Spanish has dental [d̪]. Previous research has reported that Spanish-English bilinguals are able to produce both constrictions, resembling two monolinguals. Thus, this research will focus on two main questions: a) How do Spanish-English bilinguals acquire this distinction? and b) how late can they acquire this distinction? We will collect data through a series of tasks in which Spanish-English bilingual subjects will discriminate between manipulated /d/ stimuli, allowing us to identify which acoustic cues they are more sensitive to. Furthermore, by comparing different ages of acquisition of a second language, we will analyze which age groups are most sensitive to this acoustic distinction and when sensitivity starts to decrease. This research will also allow us to better understand how age affects language acquisition, and if there is an age limit after which subjects can no longer acquire ”native” production of a language.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you to the Johnson fund for providing me with this opportunity and to SURF-SMART and my mentor for allowing me to do this research. I am really grateful for this opportunity and to be able to conduct my own research this summer. Not only will this help improve my research skills, but it will also open the door to further continue my research on bilingualism in the future. I am really excited to start this project!
  • Major: Linguistics, Hispanic Linguistics & Bilingualism
  • Sponsor: Johnson Fund
  • Mentor: Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete