¡Ya pué[h]! Perception of coda-/s/ weakening among L2 and heritage speakers in coastal Ecuador
Keywords:SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION, PERCEPTION, DIALECTAL VARIATION
This investigation lies at the intersection of second language acquisition (SLA), sociophonetic variation, and speech perception. Specifically, it investigates the perception of coda /s/-aspiration (producing disco as [dih.ko]), a dialectal feature characteristic of Guayaquileño (coastal Ecuadorian) Spanish, among 14 young-adult English speakers who travel to Ecuador. The study investigates the participants’ ability to perceive an aspirated variant as a legitimate /s/ over time as they are further exposed to the local variety. It also explores the linguistic and extralinguistic factors that play a role in the perception of the variable such as phonological context of /s/, proficiency level, and individual differences in experience with /s/-weakening dialects. Results suggest that most learners are able to acquire new mappings within their interlanguage phonological system. However, results vary according to proficiency, phonological context of /s/, and at the individual level. The results also suggest that gains in sociolinguistic competence can be seen in terms of perception (as opposed to only in learner production), which underscores the necessity to include perceptual studies in future research in variationist SLA.
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Copyright (c) 2018 Chelsea Escalante
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