Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Speech Pathology and Audiology

Department

College of Sciences and Health Professions

First Advisor

Cox, Violet

Subject Headings

Communication, Speech Therapy

Abstract

As Spanish-English bilingual speakers continue becoming a growing part of the population in the United States it is essential to investigate their acoustic measures. The purpose of this study was to investigate a possible shift in fundamental frequency (F0) measures in bilingual speakers, and it sought to determine whether that shift was based on language acquisition or language dominance. Eleven Spanish-English bilinguals were asked to complete the following tasks 1) answer the Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire (LEAP-Q) 2) complete 3 Spanish and 3 English category fluency trials by naming words belonging to a category (e.g. animals), each one minute in length 3) reading Spanish and English sentences. The speech samples were analyzed for F0, category fluency tasks were scored for number of correct answers provided, and all measurements were compared to self-reports on the LEAP-Q. The results of this study suggested there may be a shift in F0 in bilingual speakers. In at least one speech sample, 7 out of 11 participants had an increased F0 when speaking in their non-dominant language. Due to the trend in the data and the small sample size it was concluded that further investigation must be conducted to determine if there is a true shift in F0 in bilingual speakers, and if factors such as language acquisition, language proficiency, language exposure, language status and language preference.

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