Chang & Yao in CUP volume

A¬†paper¬†entitled “An individual-differences perspective on variation in heritage Mandarin speakers” (Chang & Yao, 2024) has been published by Cambridge University Press in the book The Phonetics and Phonology of Heritage Languages (edited by Rajiv Rao).

Abstract: This chapter takes an individual-differences perspective on the dual sound systems of American heritage speakers (HSs) of Mandarin Chinese. Based on detailed sociodemographic data and production data on segmentals and suprasegmentals, we build holistic demographic and phonetic profiles for HSs, as well as native speakers and late learners, to explore how different aspects of their two languages (Mandarin, English) may develop in relation to each other and how individual variation in production may be related to socio-demographic factors. Using multiple factor analysis (MFA), we describe the range of these profiles, identify clusters of variation defined by different sociodemographic factors, and argue that some factors (e.g., age of arrival, language(s) spoken at home) have more predictive power for phonetic profiles than others. Overall, our results suggest a significant, if limited, link between socio-demographic factors and production, but only in Mandarin. We conclude by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of group-based and individual-centered approaches.

This study followed Open Science practices, and all materials, data, visualizations, and code are publicly accessible via the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/u4w2g/.

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