4aSC10. The acquisition of Taiwanese (Amoy) initial stops.

Session: Thursday Morning, May 16

Author: Ho-hsien Pan
Location: Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literature, Chiao Tung Univ., Hsinchu, 30050, Taiwan


Taiwanese (Amoy) is one of the few Chinese dialects with a three-way contrast. There are three Taiwanese syllable initial voiceless unaspirated stops, /p,t,k/, three voiceless aspirated stops, /p[sup h],t[sup h],k[sup h]/, and two voiced stops, /b,g/. This paper reports on two studies of the acquisition of the voicing contrast in Taiwanese. The longitudinal study followed two girls from about 28 months to 33 months and to 40 months, respectively. The cross-sectional study compared VOTs in 54 children ranging from 30 months to 6 years. In the longitudinal study, the children had already begun to acquire the contrast between the two voiceless stop types in the beginning of recording, although there were still many tokens of voiceless aspirated stops produced with short lag VOTs. Later, the VOTs of the voiceless aspirated stops were hyperaspirated with VOTs exceeding the adult norm, and there were fewer tokens with short lag VOTs. Both children began to acquire the voiced stops around 33 months. The cross-sectional study confirm Kewley-Port and Preston's (1974) claim and shows further that 6-year-olds' production of voiced stops is not completely adult-like.

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996