Sociophonetic variation in English /l/ in the child-directed speech of English-Malay bilinguals

In this article, I examined whether, how and why Malay Singaporean caregivers change the way they speak towards their preschool-going children in different situational contexts. I focused on the L sound at the end of English words or syllables like coLd, baLL, chiLdren, seLfie.

How different is our speech towards young children?

We know from experience that we change the way we speak when we interact with very young children: sentences are shorter and structurally less complex. Our speech is also slower, and higher in pitch. Caregivers also speak more clearly to enhance the contrasts between speech sounds to facilitate language learning.

Some of these changes in child-directed speech (CDS) can also be influenced by social factors, and involve alternative ways of speaking. more standard or more local (e.g. buTTer v. bu’er) Foulkes, Docherty & Watt (2005)



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