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Does the acoustic input for bilingual infants equal the conjunction of the input heard by monolinguals of each separate language? The present letter tackles this question, focusing on maternal speech addressed to 11-month-old infants, on the cusp of perceptual attunement. The acoustic characteristics of the point vowels /a,i,u/ were measured in the spontaneous infant-directed speech of French-English bilingual mothers, as well as in the speech of French and English monolingual mothers. Bilingual caregivers produced their two languages with acoustic prosodic separation equal to that of the monolinguals, while also conveying distinct spectral characteristics of the point vowels in their two languages.


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Scitation: The acoustic properties of bilingual infant-directed speech