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Phonetic Constraints and L1 Transfer of an English Phonological Rule in Spanish L2 Pronunciation

Olsen, Michael Kevin (2010) Phonetic Constraints and L1 Transfer of an English Phonological Rule in Spanish L2 Pronunciation. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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One particular area of concern for L2 Spanish students whose L1 is English is the pronunciation of Spanish rhotics. This study investigates L2 Spanish rhotic production in beginning learners, specifically addressing the possible effects that the different ways to produce rhotics in English (retroflex and bunched) have on the acquisition of Spanish tap and trill. It also addresses the influence that a phonological rule involving taps in English has on the acquisition of the same phone in Spanish. Results from multiple linear regressions involving forty-eight students enrolled in beginning Spanish foreign language classes show that English rhotic articulation alone is a significant predictor of trill accuracy and is a predictor of tap accuracy when controlling for amount of Spanish exposure. Concerning the effect of an L1 phonological rule on the production of Spanish rhotics, results from a paired samples t-test show that a significantly high percentage of accurately produced taps were found in words that follow the same phonological rule that produces taps in English. These results suggest that a theory of the second language acquisition of phonology should consider both phonological and physiological factors.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Olsen, Michael Kevinmko4@pitt.eduMKO4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJuffs, AlanJuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee MemberRamirez, Carloscramirez@pitt.eduCRAMIREZ
Committee MemberO'Rourke, Erineorourke@pitt.eduEOROURKE
Date: 20 September 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 9 April 2010
Approval Date: 20 September 2010
Submission Date: 11 May 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: developmental sequence; interlanguage; L2 acquisition; rhotic articulations
Other ID:, etd-05112010-112621
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:44
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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