Phonetic Language Transfer from Japanese to English in Initial Language Development

Volume 2
Issue 1
Peter John Wanner
Early research (Limas et al., 1971) as well as recent research (Polka L. & Worker, J.F., 1994) indicates that infants can discriminate between speech sounds very early before they speak. Furthermore, infants evidence the ability to differentiate between differences in talkers’ voices (Kohl 1979, Kohl 1983). Hence, most language acquisition research maintains that perceptual capacities are innate and thus don’t discuss any possibilities that some perceptual capacities might be learned (e.g., Fletcher and Garman 1986; Machinery 1987; PiattelliPalmarini 1980; Pinker 1984; Rice and Schiefelbusch 1989; Wanner and Gleitman 1982).  However, some research (i.e. Aslin and Pisoni, 1980) indicates that some perceptual capacities are learned gradually over a period of time. This paper attempts to determine if bilingual infants in their first stages of language production show indications of differentiation between two different language systems.