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The vowel systems of Quichua-Spanish bilinguals. Age of acquisition effects on the mutual influence of the first and second languages. This study investigates vowel productions of 20 Quichua-Spanish bilinguals, differing in age of Spanish acquisition, and 5 monolingual Spanish speakers. While the vowel systems of simultaneous, early, and some mid bilinguals all showed significant plasticity, there were important differences in the kind, as well as the extent, of this adaptability. Simultaneous bilinguals differed from early bilinguals in that they were able to partition the vowel space in a more fine-grained way to accommodate the vowels of their two languages. Early and some mid bilinguals acquired Spanish vowels, whereas late bilinguals did not. It was also found that acquiring Spanish vowels could affect the production of native Quichua vowels. The Quichua vowels were produced higher by bilinguals who had acquired Spanish vowels than those who had not. It is proposed that this vowel reorganization serves to enhance the perceptual distinctiveness between the vowels of the combined first- and second-language system. Phonetica.
Potato not Pope: human brain potentials to gender expectation and agreement in Spanish spoken sentences. Event-related potentials were used to examine the role of grammatical gender in auditory sentence comprehension. Native Spanish speakers listened to sentence pairs in which a drawing depicting a noun was either congruent or incongruent with sentence meaning, and agreed or disagreed in gender with the immediately preceding spoken article. Semantically incongruent drawings elicited an N400 regardless of gender agreement. A similar negativity to prior articles of gender opposite to that of the contextually expected noun suggests that listeners predict specific words during comprehension. Gender disagreements at the drawing also elicited an increased negativity with a later onset and distribution distinct from the canonical N400, indicating that comprehenders attend to gender agreement, even when one of the words is only implicitly represented by a drawing. nl