Cross-Linguistic Study on VOT of Chinese Trilingual Speakers

Yue Sun, Stefania Profita


In the field of third language acquisition (TLA) in China, only a few empirical researches were carried out to discuss the negative transfer from the mother tongue, so this work aimed to examine that if the cross-linguistic influence (CLI) from L2 exists. We measured and analyzed 8 Chinese college students’ voice onset time (VOT) of stops /p t k b d g/ in English (L2) and Italian (L3). Two Italian native speakers’ VOT values were taken as the reference group. The result shows that Chinese students can hardly distinguish unaspirated voiceless stops /p t k/ and voiced stops /b d g/ in Italian because students are affected by Chinese (L1)’s stop system which is characterized by aspiration. Pre-voicing was observed in voiced stops /b d g/ in both L2 and L3. The analysis of variance shows they are similar (P>0.05). Based on this result, we discussed the possibility to develop the Speech Learning Model (SLM) which was brought out on account of second language acquisition of phonetics and adopt it to explain the learning of L3 speech.


Third language acquisition; Plosives; Voice onset time; Speech learning model

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