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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32763

Title: Native Dialect Effects in Non-native Production and Perception of Vowels
Authors: Marinescu, Irina
Advisor: Colantoni, Laura
Department: Spanish
Keywords: Spanish dialects
English vowels
L1, L2 production
L2 perception
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2012
Abstract: This dissertation examines the role of the native dialect in non-native perception and production in the specific case of Cuban and Peninsular Spanish as native varieties and of English vowels as in hat, hut, hot as the target. In most second language studies, the learners’ native variety is assumed to be homogenous, regardless of their regional variety. Nevertheless, regional varieties differ in non-trivial ways and such differences need to be considered when analyzing second language acquisition. This dissertation takes shape around the main research question of whether potentially systematic differences between vowels in the native dialects of Cuban and Peninsular Spanish would produce matching phonetic differences in non-native perception and production of English vowels. This question was addressed in three experiments that compared native vowels in these Spanish varieties, as well as the perception and production of the target English vowels as in hat, hut, hot by Cuban and Peninsular Spanish learners. Significant cross-dialectal differences were identified in the production of native vowels, namely, locations of /i, o/, durations of /e, a, o/ as well as different variability patterns, which were predicted to influence mapping of sounds in L2 perception and production. In L2 perception, discrimination for advanced and naïve listeners from each dialect was tested with English contrasts as in hat-hut, hut-hot, and hat-hot. No clear native dialect effect could be identified; however, Cuban advanced listeners obtained high error rates with hut-hot. In L2 production, though, dialect-specific patterns were found: Peninsular learners produced vowels as in hat, hut, hot with significant spectral but no durational differences whereas Cuban learners produced vowels as in hut, hot with no significant spectral but with duration differences. I concluded that the native dialect was one of several factors generating the differences between Peninsular and Cuban participants’ perception and production of English vowels as in hat, hut, hot. The conjoint effect of the native dialect, input and learning experience were shown to have contributed to the distinctions. This finding contributes to second language acquisition research because it stresses the need to control for learners’ native dialect. This research contributed new acoustic data on Cuban Spanish and on L2 English. It uncovered specific patterns and interlanguage strategies of Spanish learners of English.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32763
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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