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Inter-generational transmission in a minority language setting: Stop consonant production by Bangladeshi heritage children and adults

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-20, 11:00 authored by Robert Mayr, Aysha Siddika

 Aims and Objectives:The purpose of this study was togain a better understanding of speech development across successive generations of heritage language users, examining how cross-linguistic, developmental and socioculturalfactorsaffect stop consonant production.Design:To this end, we recorded Sylhetiand English stopproductions of two sets of Bangladeshi heritage families: (1) first-generation adult migrants from Bangladesh and their (second-generation) UK-born children, and (2) second-generation UK-born adult heritage language users and their (third-generation) UK-born children.Data and analysis:The data were analysed auditorily, using whole-word transcription, and acoustically, examiningvoice onset time. Comparisons were then made in both languages across the four groups of participants, and cross-linguistically. Findings:The results revealed non-nativeproductions of English stops by the first-generation migrants but largely target-like patterns by the remaining sets of participants. The Sylheti stops exhibited incremental changesacross successive generations of speakers, with the third-generation children’s productions showing the greatestinfluence from English.  Originality:This is one of few studies to examineboththe host and heritage language in an ethnic minority setting, and the first to demonstrate substantial differences in heritage language accent between age-matched second-and third-generationchildren.The study shows that current theories of bilingual speech learning do not go far enough in explaining how speech develops in heritage language settings.Implications:These findings have important implications for the maintenance, transmission and long-term survival of heritage languages, and show that investigations need to go beyond second-generation speakers, in particular in communities that do not see a steady influx of new migrants. 


Published in

International Journal of Bilingualism




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Mayr, R. & Siddika, A. (2016) 'Inter-generational transmission in a minority language setting: Stop consonant production by Bangladeshi heritage children and adults', International Journal of Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1177/1367006916672590

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Robert Mayr

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Speech, Hearing and Communication

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  • © The Publisher


  • en

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