Information encoding and transmission profilesof first-language (L1) and second-language (L2)speech

After reviewing my topics of interest and any research questions I had brainstormed with my mentor, we stumbled across this article. I’m used to being told I have a tendency of speaking fast in both languages I speak, English and Dominican Spanish. I am aware Dominican Spanish is very quick as we are loose with our /r/ like many Caribbean dialects but I never realized whether the familiarity was being stored somewhere in my brain leading to translation into my English. All of this then made me think if the rate of speech of one’s native dialect affects language acquisition and if so, what’s the difference? “As such, this study represents a first step towards a broader goal of understanding information transmission via an L2 speech channel.” This was a quote that stood out to me as I thought on how common bilingualism is for there not to be more research done on these effects and inspired me to possibly play a role in filling that gap!

This study was was inspired by the phenomenon that individuals who speak two or more languages have imbalance present in their native language. Most importantly, the presence of a big contrast in the temporal domain of the information being encoded and transmitted. The data was measured through articulation rate, acoustic syllable duration, number of acoustic syllables, information density, information rate, and acoustic syllable reduction and 351 language samples between three different languages, English, French, and Spanish which are widely spoken. It concludes that the second language speech was produced with a slower rate and lower information density than that of first language. This conclusion was the assumption I went in having before even reading this article. It turns out that my thought of the rate of speech of my native language playing a tie into the rate of speech of my second language wasn’t so far off. Turns out that bilinguals have a tendency of combining fully articulated words rather than shorter phonetic forms that are typical in second languages.

Bradlow, Ann R. “Information Encoding and Transmission Profiles of First-Language (L1) and Second-Language (L2) Speech.” Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, vol. 25, no. 1, 2021, pp. 148–162., https://doi.org/10.1017/s1366728921000717.