14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Acquisition of a Second Language Vowel System: Evidence from English Speakers Learning Spanish

Jeffrey T. Reeder

Sonoma State University, USA

This paper begins by discussing the relationship between recent research in second language speech acquisition and the acquisition of Spanish, including notions of phonetic accuracy (the collective weight of multiple attempts at a given sound) and phonetic precision (similarity of multiple attempts at a given sound). It then describes a cross-sectional study of 70 adult English-speaking learners of Spanish at four different levels of acquisition that was conducted to gather data on the acquisition of the Spanish vowel system. The results of the study suggest that: (a) learners exhibit a definable acquisitional continuum in their target language output, (b) successful production of the high front and high back vowels is evident earlier than with other vowels, and (c) performance differences in output between stressed syllables and unstressed syllables are found to occur, particularly in earlier stages of acquisition.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Reeder, Jeffrey T. (1999): "Acquisition of a second language vowel system: evidence from English speakers learning Spanish", In ICPhS-14, 1475-1478.