Development of Spanish Rhotics in Spanish-English Bilingual Children in the United States

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Rhotics, particularly the trill, are late acquired sounds in Spanish. Reports of Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers document age-appropriate articulations, but studies do not explore productions once exposure to English increases. This paper reports on the rhotic productions of a cross-sectional sample of 31 Spanish-English bilingual children, ages 6;8 to 13;5. Children produced taps with high rates of accuracy across age groups; the trill did not reach 80% target production until age 11;3, later than reported for monolingual speakers. Increased English exposure is explored as a contributing factor, arguing a need for continued study of bilingual phonological development beyond the preschool years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-806
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* This work was supported by a Thesis Research Grant from the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. The project would not have been possible, however, without the cooperation of the students, teachers, and parents at the participating school. In addition, Lindsey Dietz was pivotal in creating a statistical model that allowed for meaningful comparisons to be made. Address for correspondence: Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies,  Folwell Hall,  Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis MN , USA. e-mail: For the studies cited, the threshold for acquisition was set at %.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright Cambridge University Press 2017.


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