VOT drift in 3 generations of heritage language speakers in Toronto

Melania Hrycyna, Natalia Lapinskaya, Alexei Kochetov, Naomi Nagy


Results for onset /p, t, k/ produced by 34 individuals representing three generations of Russian, Ukrainian, and Italian, are presented. Data when compared to published reports on monolingual patterns shows that ML speakers' Voice onset time (VOT) tends to drift from the homeland standard toward that of English in successive generations. VOT was examined in conversational speech of 3-4 speakers in each generation in each language, plus one fluent G5 Ukrainian. Results show that mean VOT for Russian and Ukrainian increases as generations progress, as predicted. However, Italian exhibits stability across generations. Positive deviation from the mean indicates longer, more English-like VOT. Russian and Ukrainian show the predicted shorter VOT correlating with higher Ethnic Orientation Questionnaire (EOQ), while Italian has the opposite trend.


Three generations; Toronto; Voice onset time

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