Abstract - Claudia Araujo

The aim of this project was to determine the effects of exposure to English on the phonological development of Brazilian Portuguese-English-speaking children on their first language (Brazilian Portuguese). Two issues were addressed:
  1. What is the main language spoken by Brazilian Portuguese-English speaking children participating in this study (and residing in New Jersey) at home?
  2. Whether and to what extent their exposure to English affects their acquisition of phonology of their L1/Brazilian-Portuguese

The participants were five typically developing sequential bilingual Brazilian Portuguese English-speaking children aged 5. In order to answer the first question, parents were asked to complete a questionnaire that collects information on the demographic and linguistic contexts in which the children were raised. All children received more Brazilian Portuguese (75% to 100%) than English input from their mothers.

The data samples collected to address the second issue consisted of a) a single word elicitation task that tested the production of all Brazilian Portuguese phonemes and b) spontaneous speech samples. The full samples were transcribed phonemically and the analyses considered adult-like and unadult-like pronunciations. The phonological processes used by the children were compared to those reported in the literature on monolingual Brazilian Portuguese phonological development in order to distinguish those that reflect developmental processes and those that may be influenced by the phonology of English. The results demonstrate that English has little impact on the phonological development of the children’s first language- Brazilian Portuguese.

This study contributes new evidence to current debates on cross-language transfer in bilingual development and focuses on an understudied language combination (English and Brazilian-Portuguese) and bilingual population (i.e. consecutive, as opposed to simultaneous, bilinguals).

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