DOI: 10.3390/acoustics6010014 ISSN: 2624-599X

Acoustic Characteristics of Greek Vowels Produced by Adult Heritage Speakers of Albanian

Georgios P. Georgiou, Aretousa Giannakou
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Investigating heritage language (HL)-contact effects on the dominant language has received limited attention despite its importance in understanding the dynamic interplay between linguistic systems in situations of bilingualism. This study compares the acoustic characteristics of Greek vowels produced by heritage speakers (HSs) of Albanian and monolingual Greek speakers, aiming to identify potential differences and explain them. The participants were adult second-generation HSs of Albanian with Greek as their dominant language, born and raised in Greece. A control group of age-matched monolingual Greek speakers was included for comparison purposes. All participants engaged in a controlled speech production task, with the data segmented to extract acoustic values pertaining to the first three formants and the duration of Greek vowels. Bayesian regression models were employed for the subsequent statistical analysis. The results demonstrated differences in the first three formants of certain vowels and the duration of all vowels. These differences can be attributed to the crosslinguistic effect of HL on the dominant language, as well as the interplay between the dynamic and internalized language system of the speakers and the complex effect of the sociophonetic context. These outcomes contribute to the hypothesis positing the emergence of deflected phonetic categories among a distinctive group of bilinguals, namely HSs. Furthermore, this study underscores the significance of a comprehensive exploration of the sociophonetic context of HSs for a nuanced understanding of their phonetic patterns.

More from our Archive