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Processing of Lexical Stress at the Phonological Level in French Monolinguals and Bilinguals at 10 Months

French adults and infants have difficulties processing lexical stress, due to the lack of lexical stress in French. Difficulties at discriminating the trochaic and iambic stress patterns emerge by 10 months, and were found both at an acoustic/phonetic level using a single trochaic and a single iambic item (Bijeljac-Babic et al., 2012), and at a more abstract/phonological level using lists of trochaic and iambic items (Skoruppa et al., 2009). These findings raise the question of stress pattern perception in simultaneous bilinguals learning French and one stress-contrasted language. Bijeljac-Babic et al. (2012) established that such bilinguals have better stress discrimination at the phonetic level than French monolinguals. The present study explored stress discrimination at the phonological level in a similar population of 24 French-other language bilingual 10-month-olds and 24 French-learning monolingual 10-month-olds. Discrimination was found for the bilinguals but not the monolinguals. Moreover, in bilinguals, discrimination appeared not to be affected by the language balance (French-dominant versus dominant input in the stress-contrasted language) of the infants.



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