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Asymmetries in phonological development: the case of word-final cluster acquisition in Welsh-English bilingual children

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posted on 2022-04-07, 16:30 authored by Robert Mayr, Gwennan Howells, Rhonwen Lewis

 This study provides the first systematic account of word-final cluster acquisition in bilingual children. To this end, 40 Welsh-English bilingual children differing in language dominance and age (2;6 to 5;0) participated in a picture-naming task in English and Welsh. The results revealed significant age and dominance effects on cluster acquisition, with greater overall accuracy on the English clusters. Interestingly, although the Welsh-dominant children outperformed the English-dominant ones on the Welsh clusters, they did not exhibit a concomitant lag on the English clusters. It is argued that this asymmetry is a direct reflection of the sociolinguistic situation in Wales with English as the majority language and Welsh the minority language. The study also revealed accelerated rates of acquisition for English clusters compared with age-matched monolinguals reported elsewhere (Templin, 1957), thereby supporting claims that bilingual contexts may have a facilitative effect on phonological acquisition (Goldstein & Bunta, 2012; Grech & Dodd, 2008). 


Published in

Journal of Child Language


Cambridge University Press


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Mayr, R., Howells, G. and Lewis, R. (2015) 'Asymmetries in phonological development: the case of word-final cluster acquisition in Welsh–English bilingual children', Journal of Child Language, 42 (1), pp. 146-179

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

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Robert Mayr

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Speech, Hearing and Communication

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