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The L2 Acquisition of Spanish Rhotics by L1 English Speakers: The Effect of L1 Articulatory

Routines and Phonetic Context for Allophonic Variation


Author(s): Michael K. Olsen
Source: Hispania, Vol. 95, No. 1 (March 2012), pp. 65-82
Published by: American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41440363 .
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and

The

L2 Acquisition
of Spanish
Speakers:
by LI English

The

Effect

Phonetic

of LI
Context

Articulatory
for Allophonic

Rhotics
Routines
Variation

Michael K. Olsen
USA
University
ofPittsburgh,
Thisarticle
ofhowfirst-language
Abstract:
offers
a fine-grained
(LI) phonetics
investigation
involving
this
affect
(L2) learners.
bysecond-language
Englishrhotics
Spanishrhotic
production
Specifically,
LI English
rhotic
routines
andbunched-like)
howdifferent
(retroflex-like
articulatory
study
investigates
thatproduces
affect
theaccuracy
ofSpanish
rhotic
andthephonetic
context
allophonic
tapsinEnglish
ratesas wellas English
rhotic
were
articulation
byL2 learners.
Tapandtrillaccuracy
pronunciation
from
offorty-eight
textsin
calculated
reading
recordings
beginning-level
university
Spanishstudents
is a
from
linearregressions
showthatEnglish
rhotic
articulation
andEnglish.
Results
multiple
Spanish
of
andis a predictor
oftapaccuracy
whencontrolling
foramount
oftrillaccuracy
significant
predictor
oftapandtrill
Theseresults
thatLI articulatory
routines
affect
theaccuracy
suggest
Spanish
exposure.
Results
from
a pairedsamples
/-test
showthata significantly
ofaccurately
highpercentage
production.
inwordsthatfollowthesamearticulatory
thatproduces
werefound
context
produced
tapsinSpanish
ofthesecondlanguage
of
Theseresults
thatanoverarching
acquisition
suggest
theory
tapsinEnglish.
inLI articulatory
routines
andtransfer
ofLI phonetic
consider
howsubtle
differences
should
phonology
L2 speechproduction.
toL2 phonemes
influences
context
ofallophones
de
de adquisicin,
ofrhotics/adquisicin
Keywords:
acquisition
acquisition
expectations/expectaciones
LI influence/influencia
deLI, L2 phonetics/fontica
deL2,L2phonology
rticos,
acquisition/adquisicin
de segundalengua,Spanishphonology/
de L2, second-language
fonolgica
acquisition/adquisicin
rhotics/rticos
enespafiol
deespanol,
fonologia
Spanish
1. Introduction
taskthatlearnershave whenacquiringsecondlanguage(L2) phonologycan be
abstract
is mappedontodifferent
describedintermsofhowdistinctive
acousticmaterial
and
The representations
and how the learner'sfirstlanguage(LI) phoneticrepertoire
withtheL2 phonologicalsystem.
Thisstudyseeksto further
examinehow
interact
phonology
a numberofstudieshavecometo
LI phoneticsinfluence
L2 phonologyacquisition.
Recently,
inL2 Spanishlearners.
Face (2006)
andproduction
lightthathavelookedat rhoticperception
whose
andadvancedL2 Spanishlearners
intervocalic
rhoticsamongintermediate
investigated
LI was Englishnotingthedevelopmental
of phonesused in L2 Spanishrhotics.
trajectory
Model (Best 1995) in L2
of thePerceptual
Assimilation
Rose (2010a) testedthepredictions
with
increased
ofrhotics
andfoundthatperception
learners'
discrimination
generally
perceptual
level.Rose (2010b) describedtherangeofphonesthatLI Englishspeakersutilize
proficiency
inintervocalic
forL2 Spanishrhotics
position.TheresultsofthisstudysuggestthatL2 learners
in
articulations
movingto more[r]-dominant
employ[j] in all Spanishrhoticcontextsatfirst,
between[r]and [r]at themoreadvancedlevels.1
all rhoticcontexts
andfinallydifferentiating
of
Whilethesestudieshaveaddedto ourunderstanding
ofwhatto expectinthedevelopment
AATSP
2012
Copyright

95.1(2012):65-82
Hispania

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66

Hispania 95 March20 12

L2 Spanishrhotics,starting
withtheLI phonesleadingto theL2 phones,and haveutilized
acousticanalysistocategorize
theinfluence
ofLI phonetics
on
rhotics,
theydidnotinvestigate
L2 accuracydirectly.
Another
recentstudythatinvestigated
L2 Spanishrhoticsis Hurtadoand
Estrada(2010).Thisstudyinvestigated
factors
environment
andtap/trill
linguistic
(phonological
as well as varioussociolinguistic
factors
thatcontributed
to thepronunciation
pronunciation)
ofSpanishrhoticsbyLI Englishspeakersandfoundthatlinguistic
factors
andinputreceived
This investigation
is
through
studyabroadand explicitinstruction
improvedpronunciation.
becauseit shows,as did thepreviously
mentioned
studies,thatL2 Spanishrhotic
important
can improveovertime.Waltmunson
therelativedifficulty
pronunciation
(2005) investigated
of theacquisitionof rhoticswithrespectto Iii and /d/.This studyplaces theacquisitionof
L2 Spanishrhoticsrelativeto theacquisitionofotherL2 Spanishphones;whichfurthers
our
knowledgeofwhererhoticsaresituatedintermsofthelargerpictureoftheacquisitionofL2
thesestudieshavecontributed
toourunderstanding
ofthefactors
Spanishphonology.
Although
thataffecttheproduction
of Spanishrhoticsby LI Englishspeakers,whichnecessitates
the
ofLI andL2 phonetics,
howLI Englisharticulatory
andphonetic
routines
context
incorporation
forLI allophonic
variations
influence
theacquisition
ofSpanishrhotics
haslargely
beenleftout.
One LI articulatory
thatmayinfluence
theL2 acquisition
ofSpanishrhotics
phenomenon
is therangeof articulations
thatEnglishspeakersemployfortheEnglishrhoticIII. English
- retroflex
rhoticarticulations
are usuallythought
of as twomaximallydistinct
articulations
andbunched;althoughintermediate
variationdoes existacrossspeakers(Alwan,Narayanan,
andHaker1997;Espy-Wilson
etal. 2000). The distinct
articulations
thatLI Englishspeakers
employcanbe describedas within-category
(as opposedto allophonic)variants
subphonemic
sincespeakersdo notperceivedifferences
betweenarticulations,
norare theygovernedby
phoneticcontextacross speakers.In otherwords,LI Englishspeakersassigna varietyof
different
articulations
to one category;in thiscase /j/.These Englishwithin-category
differencesarerelevant
tothestudyoftheacquisition
ofL2 Spanishrhotics
these
because,although
differences
arenotperceivedin theLI, differences
in articulatory
routinemaystillaffectthe
accurateproduction
ofL2 Spanishrhotics.2
Spanishspeakersproducerhoticsbyraisingtheapex of thetonguetowardsthealveolar
closuresfortrills.Whiledialectaland
ridge,makinga verybriefclosurefortapsandmultiple
individualvariations
do exist,usuallyoccurring
as fricatives
or approximants
(Blecua 2001;
Hammond1999; Lindau 1985), apical taps and trillsare generallywhatEnglish-speaking
learnersof Spanisharetaughtin a classroomsetting
(Face 2006). The important
pointis that
in bothrhoticsof standard
raise
the
of
the
thealveolar
toward
Spanish,speakers
apex
tongue
rhotics
the
to
raise
thetongue
ridge(Blecua2001). BecauseLI Englishretroflex
require speaker
of bothSpanishrhoticsshouldbe facilitated
apex towardsthealveolarridge,theproduction
whentheyarerepresented
intheinterlanguage
as allophonesof111sincebothSpanphonology
ishrhoticsnecessitate
a raisedtongueapex.On theotherhand,production
of Spanishrhotics
wouldbe impededwhenEnglishspeakersemploya bunched-like
[j] becausetheyareusedto
theoppositedirection
ofmovement
ofthetongueapex.
LI Englishphenomenon
Another
thatmayinfluence
L2 acquisitionof Spanishrhoticsis
thephoneticcontextthatconverts
thealveolarstopsIii and Idl to tapsin English,whichare
similarto Spanishtaps.Whilethisis a completely
different
than
physiologically
phenomenon
theinfluence
of articulatory
becauseit involvesthetransfer
of an LI phonological
routines,
ruleandnotmusclemovements,
thisis another
intheacquisilargelyunexplored
phenomenon
tionof Spanishrhotics.Ladefoged(2006) formulates
thisproduction
as a phonologicalrule,
stating"alveolarstopsbecomevoicedtapswhentheyoccurbetweentwovowelsthesecond
of whichis unstressed"
in atomicand atomexemplify
thisrule.The word
(74). Alternations
atomic[9'thamik]
showsthatwhenIii is theonsetofa stressedsyllable,itis realizedas [th].The
wordatom['aeram]showsthat[r]alternates
with[th]whenstressfallson a syllablethatdoes
notcontainIii in itsonset.

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

67

A phonological
ruleis neededtoexplainthedistribution
oftapsbecausetheyareallophonic
in English.Spanishtapsare phonemicin thesensethata ruleis notneededto explaintheir
distribution.
environments
as exempliTaps can be realizedin bothstressedand unstressed
in
fied thewordsmejoro[me'xoro]'improve(firstpersonsingular)'and mejor[mexo'ro]
in Spanishas it
'improved(thirdpersonsingular)'.Stressdoes notinfluence
tapdistribution
in Spanish,theyare
does inEnglish.Whileintervocalic
tapsmaybe represented
phonemically
neutralized
withtrillsinothercontexts
and,inthatsense,tapsarenotcompletely
phonemicin
thesamemanner
as otherSpanishphonemes(e.g.,/d/
whichhasallophonicvariants[d] and[]
IftheEnglishphoneticcontextthatproducestapsinflufoundincomplimentary
distribution).
encestheproduction
of Spanishtaps,learnersofSpanishshouldbe able to producetapsmore
in whichtheyexist
whenin environments
similarto thepredictable
environments
accurately
in English(followinga stressedsyllableand in theonsetof an unstressed
syllable).Because
to affect
trillsdo notexistin Standard
AmericanEnglish,no LI phoneticcontextis predicted
theiracquisition.
inLI articulatory
suchas retroflex
andbunched[j] andtheLI phonetic
Differences
routines,
As
contextthatproducesallophonictaps,maybothaffecttheacquisitionof Spanishrhotics.
LI phoneticsshould
learnersassimilateL2 segments
totheirexistingLI segments,
beginning
dominate
theproduction
ofL2 sounds.Resultsofthisstudyexpandourknowledgeofhowthe
IfbothtypesofLI phonetic
LI influences
theacquisition
influence
ofL2 phonology.
phenomena
L2 production,
L2 acquisitionofphonology
notonlybyLI abstract
is influenced
phonological
that
butalso by articulatory
routinesfoundin theLI as well as phoneticcontexts
categories,
in
ofphonemesthatthecontextaffects
createallophonicvariants,
ofthesimilarity
regardless
eachlanguage.
into
Colantoniand Steele(2008) discussedtheneedto incorporate
phoneticconstraints
L2 phonologyacquisition.TheyshowedthatspecificLI articulatory
regarding
hypotheses
conventions
thatarenotnecessarily
(i.e.,tongueshapeinEnglish
predisposed
byaerodynamics
L2 speechproduction.
Becauseofthis,itis important
tocarry
rhoticarticulation)
also influence
theacquisitionofL2 phonological
outstudieson LI phoneticphenomena
thatmayinfluence
routinesandLI
thehypothesis
testedin thisstudyis thatLI articulatory
Therefore,
systems.
L2
contexts
influence
the
of
production
phonology.
phonetic
thecurThe acquisitionof Spanishrhoticsby Englishspeakersis revelatory
regarding
LI
the
influence
of
both
renthypothesis
becausedistinct
can
be
made
regarding
predictions
in
between
these
two
and
context
due
to
the
differences
rhotics
routines
articulatory
phonetic
L2 Spanishlearners'rhoticproduction
The presentstudyinvestigates
languages.3
beginning
it
routine
in intervocalic
examines
the
position.Specifically,
possibleeffectLI articulatory
in
vs.
bunched-like
differences
the
routines
involved
retroflex-like
articulations
(i.e.,
differing
and theeffectthatan
as describedabove) have on Spanishrhoticproduction,
articulations
LI
variation
the
contextthatproduces
context
that
(i.e.,
English phonetic
producesallophonic
L2 pronunciation
to
alveolar
as
described
has
on
accurate
as
of
above)
stops
taps allophones
contribute
to L2 phonologyacquisition.
testthehypothesis
thatbothtypesofphoneticfactors
ofEnglish-Spanish
Thisstudyalso providesa betterunderstanding
phonology
interlanguage
rhotic
of
acquisition beginners.
regarding
The specificresearchquestionsaddressedinthisstudyare:
1. Does theL 1 within-category
indifferent
manners
ofAmerican
difference
manifested
or
affect
the
facilitation
rhotic
articulation
retroflex-like
(i.e.,
bunched-like)
English
of Spanishrhoticproduction?
2. Does thephoneticcontextthatproducesallophonictapsin Englishaffectaccuracy
in Spanishrhoticproduction?

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68

Hispania 95 March20 12

2. Interlanguage Phonology System


Englishhas one phonemicrhotic111whichcan be producedutilizingtwo maximally
distinctive
withintermediate
articulations
variations.
One is knownas theretroflex
[j] andthe
otheras thebunched[j]. Speakerswhoemploymoreretroflex-like
lifttheapex
[j] articulations
oftheirtongueup andpointittowardthealveolarridge,keepingthetonguedorsumrelatively
low in theoral cavity.Speakerswho employmorebunched-like
contract
[j] articulations
theirtonguetipback and raisethetonguedorsumtowardthepalate.Otherconstrictions
in
thevocaltract(lipsandpharynx)
do contribute
to theproduction
ofEnglishrhotics;however,
thevariation
acrossspeakerslies inthedifferences
intongueconstriction
inthepalatalregion
Wilson
et
al.
Whether
or
not
the
different
of
have
(Espy2000).
ways producing
Englishrhotics
an acousticeffect
is notas important
fortheacquisitionof Spanishrhotics(althoughacoustic
effects
forlearners
ofL2 English)as thephysiological
maybe important
aspectofthediffering
- F5-F4 distancewitha greater
articulations
andthewaytomeasuresucharticulations
F5-F4
difference
a
more
retroflex-like
articulation
and
a
smaller
difference
a
indicating
indicatingmore
bunched-like
articulation
et
al.
The
reason
that
acoustic
effects
of
(Zhou
2008).
Englishrhotics
arenotimportant
is thattheacousticsofEnglishand Spanishrhoticsarecompletely
different
andthereis no logicalreasonto assumeanytypeoftransfer
based on acousticsimilarities
or
differences.
Thephysiologically
different
are
the
case
of
articulations,
however, comparable
(in
retroflex
andcontrastable
betweenEnglish
articulations)
(in thecase ofbunchedarticulations)
and Spanish.Althoughtapsare notusuallyassociatedwithrhoticsin English,becausethey
occuras allophonesofalveolarstopconsonants
/t/
andIA!as in thewordmatter[maeq],they
areimportant
to thisstudybecauseoftheirrhoticstatusin Spanish.Speakersproducetapsby
raisingtheapexofthetonguetowardsthealveolarridgeandmakinga verybriefclosure.
- a tap/r/
unlikeEnglish,
hastwodistinct
rhotics
anda trill/r/,
illustrated
Spanish,
phonemic
the
minimal
'forum'/
by
pairsforo[foro]
forro[foro]'lining'.4Spanishspeakersproducetaps
in thesamewayas theallophonictapin Englishand aredescribedin a mannersimilarto the
in thatthenumberof closures
description
alreadymentioned
by Tomas(1921). Trillsdiffer
is greater.
Sol (2002) notedthattrillsusuallyentailedfour,and sometimes
fiveor six quick
successiveclosures.It has also been notedthatsubjectsoftenhyperarticulate
in laboratory
andthatless tapsaremorecommonin speechthatis morecasual (Blecua 1999).
conditions,
inarticulatory
variation
rhotics
that
Although
gestures
assignedtoIrlexistfornativespeakers,
L2 learnersare taughtin classroomsettings
in theUnitedStatescan be describedsimplyas
alveolartapsandalveolartrills(Face 2006).
2.1 InterlanguageRhotic Phonological Structure
In thecase of LI EnglishspeakerslearningSpanishas an L2, learnersmustacquirea
newspeechsound,thetrill/r/,
andmustreassignan Englishallophoneofalveolarstops[r]to
becomeitsownphonemeId. Because Englishspeakers'phoneticinventories
do notcontain
trills,
theyaremoreeasilyacquiredthantaps(Flege 1995).Thisis becausespeakersdo notneed
to reassignan existingphoneintheirLI, andareable to construct
a newphoneme.However,
thisdoes notmeanthatlearnersaccurately
producetrillsbeforetaps.Due to thearticulatory
of trills,theyactuallyshowup laterin rhoticdevelopment
thantaps(Face 2006).
difficulty
1
shows
thenativestructure
ofEnglishtapsandSpanishrhotics.5
The allophonictapis
Figure
foundincomplementary
distribution
ofalveolarstops/t/
andId/.Theconnecting
linesbetween
thephonemes
andthe[r]indicate
thisrelationship.
BecausebothSpanishrhotics
holdphonemic
thelinesshowtheSpanishphonemesconnecting
totheircorresponding
status,
directly
phones.
Figure2 showstheprocessthatnativeEnglishspeakersmustundergoto acquirea target-like
rhotics.
The brokenlinesindicatetheprocessofdisassociation
phonological
systemregarding
fromalveolarstopsintheLI andthearrowindicatesthephonemicization
processthat[r]must

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

69

ofEnglishTap and SpanishRhotics


Figure1. PhonologicalStructure

ofEnglishTap and SpanishRhotics


Figure2. Phonological
Restructuring
undergo.Learnersmustalso acquirethetrill,whichdoes notexistin English.This process
thatthedistribution
oftapsis no longerpredictable
occursas learners
notice(subconsciously)
anda separatephonememustbe posited.
therearealso otherconfounding
Whiletheacquisition
processaloneis quitecomplicated,
influence
ontheacquisition
is oneimportant
factor
thatcanhavea negative
factors.
Orthography
of Spanishrhotics(Koda 1989; Munroand Derwing1994;Zampini1994). Because tapsand
as <r>, classroomlearners'(withno
non-intervocalic
trillsare represented
orthographically
responseis torefertotheEnglishrhotic111whichsharesthesame
priorexperience)immediate
thetap alreadyexistentin theirphonologicalrepresentation,
Insteadof activating
grapheme.
111is activated.
Whilethisorthographic
influence
is probably
thealveolarapproximant
stronger
fortrills,also activatesthealveolar
fortaps,itis possiblethat<rr>,theintervocalic
grapheme
An interlanguage
rhotics
between
(aftera contrast
phonological
system
regarding
approximant.
is realized
Id andIrl.Theformer
all rhotics
involvedis perceived)consistsofthetwophonemes
as theallophones[r]and [i] andthelatteris realizedas [r]and [j]. Figure3 showsthetypical
L2 Spanishlearners
structure
ofbeginning
as seeninthedataofthepresent
study.
interlanguage

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70

Hispania 95 March20 12

ofRhotics
Figure3. Interlanguage
PhonologicalStructure

3. L2 Phonological Acquisition
withtheirLI and
a processof learning
Althoughlearnersgo through
phonologystarting
movingtowardsan L2, thelanguagephenomenaevidentin thisprocesssometimesdo not
ininterlanguages
resembletheLI ortheL2 as showninFigure3 (Ellis 2008). Differences
may
encodedphonemic
occurbecausetheacquisition
ofphonology
reliesonphonetically
categories
in learners'abilitiesto formphonetic-phonemic
as wellas individual
differences
mappings.
in
of
differences
model
that
describes
terms
One L2 phonological
acquisition
acquisition
is Flege's (1995) SpeechLearningModel (SLM). According
betweenLI andL2 articulations
to theSLM, L2 learnersperceiveall L2 soundsin termsof establishedLI segmentsin their
L2 learnersnotice
phonologicalsystemfromtheonsetof L2 exposure.Throughexperience,
LI
and
are
able
to
createa different
differences
between
and
segments
segments
phonetic
target
This
means
that
native
for
the
Englishspeakers
phoneticcategory
targetlanguagesegment.
fricative
thevoicedinterdental
would,atfirst,
[] foundinthewordcada [kaa] 'each'
interpret
as a voicedalveolarstop[d]. Overtime,speakerswouldrecognizethattheL2 phoneis not
thesameas theLI formand formulate
a separatesegmentin theirphonologicalsystem.The
L2 segments
SLM also predicts
thatseparating
fromLI segments
thatarephonetically
closer
L2 segments
to thoseLI segments(e.g., [t] and [th])will be moredifficult
thanseparating
fromLI segments
thathavemorephoneticdistancebetweenthem(e.g., [j] and [r]).Because
L2 segments
thataremoredistantfromLI segments
aremoreeasilyseparated,
theSLM also
L2
that
learners
more
them.
predicts
easilyproduce
In termsof theacquisitionof SpanishrhoticswithintheSLM, rhoticswouldat firstbe
smallperceivedphonetic
distancebetween
perceivedas theEnglish[j] becauseofa sufficiently
theL2 and LI phonesand becauseof theorthographic
influence
mentioned
above. Spanish
rhoticswillalso be producedbyL2 learnersas English[j] becausetheyareinfluenced
bythe
structure
of
LI
to
which
are
most
at
least
at
the
those
similar,
phonological
categories
they
early
Thismeansthattapsshouldbe moreaccurately
producedincontexts
stagesofL2 development.
a stressed
wheretheyareproducedintheLI (i.e.,theonsetofan unstressed
syllablefollowing
Because
more
similar
to
used
routines
for
are
routines
syllable).
articulatory
taps
byspeakers
whoemployretroflex
thesespeakersarepredicted
articulations
forLI Englishrhotics,
tomore
LI
rhotics.
differences
affect
the
Therefore, within-category
accurately
produceSpanish
may
accuratepronunciation
of Spanishrhoticsevenwhentheyare notperceivedbyLI speakers,
becauseoftheirdegreeofsimilarity
to target
phones.

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

71

4. Current Study
The current
one LI articulatory
routinedifference
andone LI phonetic
studyinvestigated
thatinfluence
theacquisitionofSpanishrhoticsbyEnglishspeakers.Specifically,
this
context
ofthedifferent
waystoproduce[j] inEnglish.Italso addressedthe
studyaddressedtheeffects
influence
thatthephoneticcontextinvolving[r]in Englishhas on theacquisitionofthesame
ofthispaperconsistsofa description
oftheparticipants
and
phonein Spanish.The remainder
theprocedures
usedinthestudy,
anda discussiononwhattheresultsindicate.
results,
analytical
4.1 Participantsand Procedures
nativeEnglish-speaking
adultsfromuniversity
Fifty-one
beginning
Spanishclassesparin
this
Five
native
females
and
two
(three
ticipated
study.
Spanish-speakers
males)representing
dialectsfroma varietyof SouthAmericancountries
and Spainalso participated
to providea
base forrhoticaccuracyrates.The datafromthreeofthenativeEnglish-speaking
participants
arenotincludedin thisstudybecauseeitheran instrument
orusererroroccurred
malfunction
theirrecordingsinaudible.Therefore,
the data elicitedfroma totalnumberof
rendering
were
included
in
the
filledout a questionnaire
forty-eight
participants
analyses.Participants
thataskedthemto indicateifEnglishwas theirnativelanguageand to ratetheirexposureto
media)beforetakingtheSpanish
Spanish(i.e.,classroom-based
exposureandexposurethrough
class inwhichtheywerecurrently
enrolledon a Likertscale from1-7 where1= 'no exposure'
and 7= 'extensiveexposure'.All L2 SpanishlearnersindicatedthattheywerenativeEnglish
speakers.
recordedthemselves
Participants
readinga textin Spanishadaptedfroma readingfound
in Mosaicos (4thed.) (Castells,Guzman,Lapuerta,and Garcia2006) designedto elicitthe
in orderto calculate
samenumberofpossibletapandtrillarticulations
fromeach participant
thistaskon Macintoshcomputers
accuracyrates.Theyaccomplished
equippedwithheadsets
intervocalic
usingAudioRecorder3.2. The Spanishtextcontaineda totalof thirty-two
taps.
Nineteentapsoccurredin theonsetsofunstressed
syllableswheretheprecedingsyllablewas
inwhichalveolarstopsbecometapsinEnglish),as intheword
stressed
(thesameenvironment
environments
(i.e., occurring
pero ['pero]'but'. Thirteen
tapsoccurredin otherintervocalic
afteranunstressed
theonsetofeithera stressed
orunstressed
syllableandcomprising
syllable),
as in thewordsdiferente
'different'
or numro['numro]'number'.The textalso
[dife'rente]
trillsas in thewordscierran['sjeran]'close' (thirdpersonplural)
containedfourintervocalic
orcorreos[ko'reos]'mail' (plural).In ordertodetermine
thetypeofEnglishrhoticarticulation
also recordedthemselves
fourEnglishwordscontaining
employed,
participants
pronouncing
[j]- arrow, car,proud,andheart, alongwitha prolonged[j] pronunciation.
Theywereasked
eachwordtwiceandto holdoutthe[j] fora fewseconds.
to pronounce
All recordings
wereanalyzedusingPraat (BoersmaandWeenink2009). Successfultaps
werecountedwhentherewas a clearclosureofthevocaltractindicatedinthespectrogram
by
a briefbreakintheformant
structures.
Successfultrillswerecountedfollowing
Sol (2002) and
Blecua (1999), whenat leasttwosuccessiveclosuresofthevocal tractwereevident.Figure4
showsan exampleof an accuratetap articulation
and Figure5 is an exampleof an accurate
trillarticulation.
Mannerofarticulation
ofEnglish[j] in each participant
was calculatedby averagingthe
distancesbetweenF4 and F5 takenfromeach ofthepronounced
Englishwordsandtheproineachwordwas produced
longed[j]. The distancebetweenF4 andF5 ofthe[j] articulations
all oftheF4 andF5 frequencies
measuredat6.25 millisecond
intervals
byaveraging
throughout
each pronunciation
and subtracting
theF4 averagefromtheF5 average.Care was takento
excludeanysurrounding
soundsfromthe[j] measurements.
Figure6 showsan exampleof a

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72

Hispania 95 March2012

Figure4. ExampleofAccurateTap Articulation

Figure5. ExampleofAccurateTrillArticulation
windowfromwhichF4 andF5 measurements
wereobtained(measuredevery6.25 milliseconds
withinthewindow).
As mentioned
a greater
distancebetweenF4 andF5 indicatesa moreretroflexpreviously,
likearticulation
whereasa lowerdistancebetweenF4 and F5 indicatesa morebunched-like
articulation
of a bunched[j] articulation
and
(Zhou et al. 2008). Figure7 is a spectrogram
ofa rhotic[j] articulation.
As can be seen,thedistancebetweenF4
Figure8 is a spectrogram
andF5 inFigure7 is relatively
smallcomparedtothedistancebetweenF4 andF5 inFigure8.
Zhou etal. (2008) foundthatdifferences
betweenF4 andF5 forparticipants
(maleswith
similarvocal tractlength)employingretroflex
articulations
were around1400 Hz, while
differences
forspeakersemploying
bunchedarticulations
werearound700 Hz. The average
distancebetweenF4 andF5 variedamongspeakersinthepresentstudy,
rangingfrom525 Hz
and 1603 Hz witha meanof 1057 Hz and a standarddeviationof 219 Hz. Thisbroadrange
of differences
is notsurprising
becauseofthepossibility
of intermediate
articulations
across
BecauseEnglishrhoticarticulations
inthisstudyfellalonga continuum
withretroflex
speakers.
andbunchedpoles,theywereanalyzedas such.
thetotalnumber
ofaccurate
Tapaccuracyrateswerecalculatedforeachstudent
bydividing
tapsbythetotalnumberofpossibletaps.Tap accuracyrateswerealso calculatedfortapsin
environments
thatproducetapsinEnglishas wellas tapsinotherenvironments
totest
phonetic

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

of[j] Articulations
Figure6. Measurement

ofBunched[j] Articulation
Figure7. Spectrogram

ofRetroflex
[j] Articulation
Figure8. Spectrogram

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73

74

Hispania 95 March20 12

forthepossibleinfluence
thattheEnglishtaprulehason accuracyoftheproduction
ofSpanish
taps.Trillaccuracyrateswerecalculatedinthesamemanner.
4.2 Results
The participant
responsesto theLikertscale rankingtask,whichasked themto rank
themselves
intheirSpanish
accordingto theamountofexposureto Spanishpriorto enrolling
witha peak aroundthesecondranking(littleexposure).
class,createda normaldistribution
The percentage
ofparticipants
thatindicatedhavinglittleexposurewas 37.5% (N= 18). Two
indicated
that
had a fairamountof exposureto Spanish(Likert
participants
theypreviously
of
and
no
indicated
that
considerable
(Likertranking
ranking 5),
participants
theyhadundergone
of 6) or extensive(Likertranking
of 7) exposureto Spanishpriorto enrolling
in thiscourse.
9
shows
the
distribution
of
Figure
participant
responses.

ofExposureto SpanishPriorto Enrollment


Figure9. Distribution
(64.6%) wereable to produceat leastone tap
Thirty-one
English-speaking
participants
the
Whileparticipants
thatwerenot
(as judgedby investigator
accurately
usingspectrograms).
able to produceat leastone tapwherefoundin all oftheexperiencelevels,themajority
were
foundinthelowerexperience
with
that
increases
levels,indicating tapproduction
experience.
Successfultapsconsistedofa clearclosureofthevocal tractandsuccessfultrillsconsistedof
at leasttwosuccessiveclosures.Of theaccurately
producedtaps,accuracyratesrangedfrom
3.1% (1/32)to 100% (32/32)witha meanof56.3%. Tap accuracyratesforthenativeSpanish-

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

75

rangedfrom96.9% (31/32)to 100% (32/32)witha meanof97.5%. An


speakingparticipants
totestthesignificance
ofthedifference
betweenthe
/-test
was performed
independent-samples
between
meansof Spanishtapaccuracyratesbetweentheparticipant
groups.The difference
tapaccuracyrates(M=36.3, SD=36.1) and Spanish-speaking
participants'
English-speaking
f(51)=11.661,/?<.001.
participants'
tapaccuracyrates(M=97.5, SD=1.4) was significant,
A linearregression
was performed
(more
(a= .05) totestwhether
Englishrhoticarticulation
better
articulations
retrofiex-like
accuracy)predicted
tapaccuracywithparticipants'
predicting
variableandEnglishrhoticarticulation
(distancebetween
tapaccuracyratesas thedependent
variable.Fortapaccuracy,rhoticarticulation
F4 and F5 foreach participant)
as thepredictor
(fi2=.057)alonewas nota significant
predictor
(=.239,p=.102). Figure10 is a scatterplot
A multiple
linear
betweentapaccuracyratesandEnglishrhoticarticulation.
oftherelationship
was a predictor
of
to testwhether
was thenperformed
Englishrhoticarticulation
regression
forexposureto Spanish(a secondpredictor
thistimecontrolling
variable).This
tapaccuracy,
testshoweda significant
effectforEnglishrhoticarticulation
(=.320, p=.010) as well as

betweenTap Accuracyand EnglishRhoticArticulation


Figure10. Correlation

amountofexposureto Spanish(=.564,/?<.001), whichcombinedaccountedfor37% ofthe


variance(R2=.369).
for
whencontrolling
was onlya significant
Because Englishrhoticarticulation
predictor
weresplitintogroupsaccordingto theamount
amountof exposureto Spanish,participants
wereperformed
on each
of exposureto Spanishtheyhad indicatedand separateregressions

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76

Hispania 95 March20 12

(ft2=.235)aloneprovedtobe a significant
group.Englishrhoticarticulation
predictor
(=.484,
for
the
who
as havinglittlepriorexposureto Span/?=.042)
participants rankedthemselves
ish(2 ontheLikertscale).Forparticipants
whoreported
havingsomepriorexposuretoSpanish
on
the
Likert
rhotic
articulation
as a
(3
scale), English
(R2=.321) approachedsignificance
of
For
all
other
rhotic
articulapredictor tapaccuracy(=. 567,/?=.088).
participants,
English
tionwas nota significant
of tap accuracy(R2=.215, =. 464,/?=.209 forgroup1;
predictor
R2= . 16 1, = .401,p = .285forgroup4).6Figure11 showstherelationship
betweentapaccuracy
ratesandEnglishrhoticarticulation
separatedby Spanishexposuregroup.The datapointsin
fittheregression
thesecondgroupbetter
correlation.
Thedatapoints
line,showinga significant
inthethirdgroupalso indicatea weakrelationship
to theregression
line.The othergroupsdo
notshowstrong
correlations.

betweenTap Accuracyand EnglishRhoticArticulation


Figure11.Correlation
by
ExposureGroup
To see whether
theEnglishphoneticcontext
thatproducestapsaffected
Spanishtapaccua
ttest
was
This
test
the
means
of
the
racy, paired-samples
accuracyrates
performed.
compared
oftaps(includingonlytheparticipants
thatproducedaccuratetaps,N=31) foundinphonetic
thatpattern
environments
liketheEnglishtaprule(M=61 .6,SD=3 1.4) andtapsfoundinother
environments
difference
was foundbetweenthesemeans;
(M=45.4, SD=30.9). A significant
/(30)=4.845,/?<.001.Figure12 showsthemeansoftheaccuratetapsin theEnglishtaprule
As thebarsindicate,the
environment
comparedto theaccuratetapsin otherenvironments.

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanish Rhotics

77

Environments
Figure12.MeansofAccuracyRatesofTaps in Different

is significantly
meanaccuracyoftapsin Englishtapruleenvironments
higherthanthemean
in
of
other
environments.
accuracy taps
outoftheforty-eight
SevenEnglish-speaking
(14.6%) wereabletoproduceat
participants
leastoneaccuratetrill.Oftheaccurately
producedtrills,accuracyratesrangedfrom25% (1/4)
to 50% (2/4)witha meanof 35.7%. TrillaccuracyratesamongthenativeSpanish-speaking
participants
rangedfrom50% (2/4)to 100%(4/4)witha meanof85%.An independent-samples
to compareSpanishtrillaccuracyratesbetweentheparticipant
t-tQSt
was performed
groups.
Thetestshoweda significant
difference,
/(51) = 11.724,p< .001, betweentheEnglish-speaking
trillaccuracyrates(N=48, M=5.2, SD= 13.6)andSpanish-speaking
participants'
participants'
trillaccuracyrates(N=5, M=85.0, SD=22.4).
A linearregression
was performed
(a=.05) to testwhetherEnglishrhoticarticulation
trillaccuracyas thedependant
trill
with
variableandEnglish
predicted accuracy
participants'
F4
variable.
and
F5
for
each
as
the
rhoticarticulation
between
predictor
(distance
participant)
For trillaccuracy,rhoticarticulation
alone (/?2=.110)was a significant
predictor
(=.332,
to accountforexposureto Spanish
was also performed
p=. 021). A multiplelinearregression
intrillaccuracyrates.ThistestshowedthatEnglishrhoticarticulation
(=. 364,p =.01 2) was
1
to
.2
also a significant
factor
for
controlling exposure Spanish(=
S,p= .122),whichcombined
betweentrill
accountedfor16% of thevariance(/?2=.157).Figure13 showsthecorrelation
rates
and
rhotic
articulation.
accuracy
English

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78

Hispania 95 March2012

betweenTrillAccuracyand EnglishRhoticArticulation
Figure13.Correlation
5. Discussion and Implications
Resultsfromtheregressions
provideanswersto thefirstresearchquestion
performed
here:
repeated
indifferent
1. Does theLI within-category
manners
ofAmerican
difference
manifested
the
facilitation
or
affect
rhotic
articulation
retroflex-like
bunched-like)
(i.e.,
English
of Spanishrhoticproduction?
is a predictor
ofaccuratetrillproduction
Theregressions
showedthatEnglishrhoticarticulation
who
Thatis to say,thoselearners
atthebeginning
levelsofL2 Spanishphonology
acquisition.
inEnglishwereinitially
abletoproducetrillswitha higher
articulations
employmoreretroflex
of
thesmallnumber
However,
accuracyratethanthosewhoemploymorebunchedarticulations.
ofthisstudy.
andis a limitation
trillsproduced
shouldbe takenintoconsideration
byparticipants
bothalone and accountingforprior
Althoughresultswerepositivefortrillproduction
relationship
exposureto Spanish,resultsof thisstudyshowedthattherewas no significant
alone.Whentakingpriorexposureto
betweentapaccuracyratesandEnglishrhoticarticulation
didcorrelate
withtapaccuracy
however,
Spanishintoconsideration,
Englishrhoticarticulation
rhoticaccuracy
thatwithmoreexperience,
rate.Thisresultis inlinewithFace's (2006) findings
ratesimprove.Theseresultsalso extendtheidea thatexperienceis one ofthemainfactorsin
intheamountofexposure
Evenrelatively
smalldifferences
theacquisition
ofSpanishrhotics.

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

79

in L2 Spanishrhoticaccuracy.Whencontrolling
levelmakea difference
timeat thebeginner
didhavean effect
ontapaccuracy
foramountofexposuretoSpanish,Englishrhoticarticulation
in Spanish,
in
accurate
is
the
main
factor
rates.Therefore,
tapproduction
although
experience
of
at
least
at
certain
influence
the
does
rhotic
articulation
stages
accuracy tapproduction,
English
andshouldbe takenintoconsideration
ofacquisition,
bylearnersandinstructors.
of tap accuracyonlywhen
becamea predictor
Because theEnglishrhoticarticulation
examine
to
were
self-ranked
forexposure,
splitto further
exposure Spanishgroups
controlling
effect
forthe
Results
showed
an
on
each
individual
rhotic
influence
ofEnglish
theeffect
group.
and
was
the
second
secondand thirdself-ranked
statistically
significant)
group
groups(only
linear
with
from
the
the
results
notforotherself-ranked
multiple
along
groups.Theseresults,
oftapaccuracy,
suggesta
predictor
showingthatexposuretoSpanishis a significant
regressions
where
transfer
measuremuchlikeWode's(1976) "crucialsimilarity
crucialdifference
measure,"
betweentheLI andtheL2. Influence
involving
onlybeginswhenlearnersnoticesimilarities
andproduction
LI phoneticfactors(e.g., Englishrhoticarticulation)
onlybecomeevidentat
betweentheLI andtheL2 articulations.
thepointwhereL2 learnersnoticedifferences
Atfirst,
theamountofexposureto Spanishandspeakingpracticeis minimalandmaynot
At
betweenEnglishand Spanishrhoticarticulations.
forlearnersto distinguish
be sufficient
is noticed(shownbytheresultsin groupstwoandthree),
thepointwherea crucialdifference
becausetheyrecognizewhentheyare
learnersbeginto produceSpanishrhoticarticulations
andwhentheyareproducing
Spanishrhoticarticulations,
Englishrhoticarticulations
producing
and thattheyare notthesame (onsetof segmentalacquisition).At thispoint,Englishrhotic
facilitate
accurate
articulations
intapaccuracyrates.Retroflex-like
becomesa factor
articulation
articulations
relativetobunched-like
because,oncetargetlanguagearticulation
tapproduction
areused
articulations
fromLI articulations,
is distinguished
speakersthatemployretroflex-like
AftermoreexperiencewithSpanish,
to raisingtheapex,as is necessaryforSpanishrhotics.
articulations
Learnerswho employbunched-like
LI phoneticfactorsbecomeless important.
cross-sectional
orlongitudinal
researchemploying
also learntoproduceaccuratetaps.Further
designanda highernumberofelicitedtrillswouldbe able totestthevalidityofsucha crucial
trillsalso followthedescribedmeasure.
measureandindicatewhether
difference
results
ofSpanishrhotics,
ofLI phoneticcontexton theproduction
theeffect
Concerning
ofthemwerein
showthatoutoftheaccurately
highpercentage
producedtaps,a significantly
inthesyllablebeforethetap,equaltothosefound
stresswas contained
wordsinwhichprimary
ofIii andId/.Theseresultsprovidean answerto
inEnglishwordsthatcreatetappedrealizations
thatproducesallophonic
here:
Does
thephoneticcontext
thesecondresearch
questionrepeated
The
results
to thisquestionare
rhotic
in
in
production?
accuracy Spanish
taps Englishaffect
inrelationtotaps
of
stress
similar
the
correlation
of
for
two
reasons.
First,
patterns
interesting
that
the
subconscious
indicates
of
acrosslanguagesandeffective
phonological
production taps
in
similar
a
that
facilitates
L2
utterances
with
rule
interacts
phonetic
way
Spanish
Englishtap
in
moreaccurately
acrossthetwolanguages.Thatparticipants
effects
producedtaps environLI
influence
of
in
LI
shows
an
their
mentsthatalso render
phoneticcontext.Second,that
taps
with
Iii
and
Idl
ofwhicharealso phonemes
of
an
associated
contexts
(both
allophone
phonetic
thatare similarto English
oftapsonlyin environments
in Spanish)facilitates
theproduction
have
not
evidence
that
these
yet
sufficiently
augmentedthepossible
participants
provides
LI
contexts.Althoughthis
in
can
occur
which
contexts
[r]
past
phonetic
Spanish
phonetic
inenvironments
unlike
of
accurate
instances
is
indicated
productions
tap
by
process underway,
from
an
in
inventories
their
have
not
reallocated
English
taps
phonemic
yet
English,beginners
allophoneof Iii and /d/to a separateSpanishphoneme.In otherwords,theselearnershave
thatproduces
butholdontothephoneticcontexts
begunto associate[r]withSpanishrhotics,
in
in
is
an
learners
this
structure
of
in
The
state,
interlingual
study
English.
phonological
taps
as seeninFigure3 above.

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80

Hispania 95 March20 12

resultsshowedthatthephoneticcontextthatproducesallophonictaps in
Interestingly,
a
variantsof [j] on the
have
subphonemic
longerlastingeffectthanwithin-category
English
L2
LI
are
inthephonological
of
rhotics.
Because
Englishtaps represented
Spanish
production
It
/
and
it
is
more
salient
to
the
LI system.
as
an
of
alveolar
learner's
/d/,
system
allophone
stops
in LI articulatory
routineare represented
at an evenless conscious
Because thedifferences
level,theeffectsshownin thisstudyare easilyovercomebecauseof thelack
subphonemic
ofsalienceto theLI system.Theseresultsareinteresting
becausetheyindicatethat,although
in LI articulatory
routines
do affectL2 phonologyacquisition,
influence
fromLI
differences
to overcome.Includingmoreadvancedlearnersin future
phoneticcontextis moredifficult
wouldrevealtheextentofthesephoneticfactors
studiesthatfocuson LI phoneticinfluence
inL2 phonology
acquisition.
modelsthathave beenpurported
to
These resultscan be partiallyexplainedby current
The SpeechLearningModel(SLM) (Flege 1995),theNative
explainL2 phonology
acquisition.
Assimilation
LanguageMagnetModel (NLM) (Iversonand Kuhl 1996),and thePerceptual
withrespectto LI catModel (Best 1995) all predictthatL2 inputwillat first
be categorized
egories.Learnersareableto formL2 categoriesas theyreceivemoreexposure.Resultsherein
showedthatlearnerswithless experienceproduceLI phonesthattheyperceive(largelydue
to orthographic
to be closestto theactualL2 phone.As learnersperceivephonetic
influence)
differences
betweenL2 andLI rhotics,
theybeginto stopusingphoneticarticulations
mapped
to/i/andstart
articulations
usingphonetic
mappedto [r],whichareclosertotheL2 articulation.
fortaps.However,
atthispoint,thephonetic
context
a separatecategory
Theybegintoformulate
theaccuracyoftapproduction
thatproducesallophonictapsinEnglishcontinues
to influence
inL2 Spanish.In thissense,theLI category
thatis associatedwithL2 tapschangeswithmore
ThattheLI influence
shifts
fromoneLI phone([j], as evidencedintheproduction
experience.
LI phone([r],as evidencedin
of learnerswithverylittleexposureto Spanish)to a different
theaccuracyratesof learnerswithmoreexposureto Spanish)is notpredicted
in thecurrent
A morefine-grained
modelsmentioned.
phoneticanalysisis necessaryto accountforthedata
analyzedinthisstudy.
As proposed
The current
forinterlanguage
studyhas implications
phonologicaltheory.
that
and
Colantoni
and
Steele
theories
(2008),
by
explain
predictinterlanguage
phonology
shouldaddressbothphonological
andphoneticphenomena.
The resultsobtainedbythisstudy
variation
and
routine
(LI articulatory
provideevidenceforthisproposal.Thatphoneticfactors
LI phoneticcontextforallophonicvariation)havean effecton theaccuracyratesof Spanish
rhotics
lendssupport
forthehypothesis
testedinthisstudy.
BothLI articulatory
byL2 learners
LI phonetic
routine
different
rhotic
and
context,
variation,
articulations,
exemplified
by
English
in
the
context
that
do
affect
the
acquisitionof
exemplified
by phonetic
producestaps English,
albeit
at
different
intensities.
Because
an L2 phonologyintermsofnative-like
pronunciation,
didinfluence
learners'
both
resultsshowedthatbothtypesoffactors
target-like
pronunciation,
the
LI
in L2 acquisitiontheories.
The current
has
also
shown
that
shouldbe considered
study
L2
in
time.
that
rhotics
over
Current
influence
accurate
change
phones
pronunciation Spanish
not
for
such
shifts.
This
be
models
do
account
by
phonologyacquisition
may accomplished
L2
LI
influences
this
to
different
levels
of
The
first
that
shift
phone
attributing
representation.
/j/,is at thephonemicleveland is theclosestphonemethatexists
Spanishrhoticproduction,
in theLI to thetargetphoneme.As differences
in articulation
arenoticed,and a separatetap
categoryis created,thephoneticcontextthatproducesallophonictapsin theLI continueto
influence
L2 Spanishtapsbecauseoftheallophonicstatusthatthisphonehas intheLI . As for
theeffect
routines
thatLI Englishspeakofarticulatory
becausetheyareneuromotor
routines,
ersuse to articulate
havemadethetransition
to articulating
/j/,oncelearners
taps,differences
In
in Englishrhoticarticulatory
routines
haveless ofan influence
on accuratetapproduction.
otherwords,oncelearners
withbunched-like
havea sufficient
amountofpractice
articulations
articulations
disaparticulating
tapsin Spanish,theadvantageforlearnerswithretroflex-like

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Olsen /L2 AcquisitionofSpanishRhotics

81

on LI phonetic
influence
atdifferent
levelsofproficiency
as well
pears.Futurestudiesfocusing
LI phonesareneededto further
theinfluence
of different
understand
as studiesinvestigating
ofLI phoneticson L2 phonologydevelopment.
theeffect
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ErinO'Rourke,CarlosRamirez,and JeffLingwallfor
I wouldliketo thankAlan Juffs,
andindispensable
theirhelpfulcomments
insights.
NOTES
thanpresented
here.
a morefine-grained
!Rose(2010b)suggests
sequenceofphoneproduction
I havepresented
thegeneral
However,
sequence
suggested
byherresults.
2Theterm
torefer
toneuromotor
routines
routine"
isusedherein
employed
byspeakers
"articulatory
toconsistently
theacoustic
effects
that
which
thephysical
movement
ofthearticulators
involve
produce
Inthiscase,thearticulatory
routines
arethephysical
as particular
listeners
investigated
phones.
interpret
rhotic
articulations.
intongue
between
retroflex-like
andbunched-like
differences
position
3Allinstances
inthemidAtlantic
refer
toStandard
American
ofthewordEnglish
English
spoken
United
States.
4Someresearchers
inSpanish
rhotic
(Hualde2005).
onlypositonephonemic
5A complete
ofIiiand/d/;
structure
would
include
other
onlythephonologiallophones
phonological
totapsis relevant
forthisstudy.
calstructure
relating
6Becauseonlytwoparticipants
that
hada fairamount
of5) ofexposure
indicated
(Likert
they
ranking
inthecourse,
a linear
couldnotbeperformed.
toSpanish
toenrolling
regression
prior
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