Measuring Voice Onset Time in Spanish and English: Establishing the parameters for future codeswitching research
Faculty Mentor: Mariska Bolyanatz Brown, Spanish & French Studies Department
Major: Group Languages (Spanish and Linguistics)
Funding: Ford Research Mentor's Endowment
Voice onset time (VOT) is a phonetic characteristic of stop consonants that plays an important role in pronunciation and accent perception in language. VOT is a widely studied aspect of phonology and has been examined thoroughly in English. There has been some research into comparing Spanish and English VOTs, but little on monolingual Western U.S. English speakers compared to monolingual Mexican Spanish speakers. In this paper, I examine the relationships between several extralinguistic and intralinguistic factors and their influence on VOT duration in both languages. Results reveal that language, following vowel height, and stop consonant identity (whether /p/, /t/, or /k/) were significant predictors of VOT duration. Overall, English VOTs are significantly longer than Spanish VOTs, the identity of the stop consonant affects VOT duration, and following vowel height affects VOT duration in Spanish. These results contradict some previous research into influential factors of VOT, while supporting others. The results from this project establish a methodological and comparative foundation for future research into the effects of code-switching effects on VOT in bilingual speakers.
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