Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Silvia Carmen Barreiro Bilbao (1). Perception of place of articulation in English fricatives by Spanish listeners: 37-62.


Differentiating speech contrasts which are not functionally distinctive in the mother tongue is a difficult perceptual task for non-native listeners. A two-fold experiment was carried out in order to investigate the L2 perception by 26 Spanish listeners of English, with an English group used as a control. In the first part of the study, listeners were exposed to the English contrast /s/ vs. /ʃ/, which is not phonemic in Spanish, in two synthesized words, Sue and shoe. The results showed that a great number of listeners had already acquired the contrast and the existence of language- specific differences in the use of some of the acoustic cues that signalled this contrast. Furthermore there was no correlation between the results obtained and the variables age of L2 learning, length of L2 learning, or listener's age. The second part of the experiment, based on voicing differences, will be shown in a subsequent paper.

Keywords: L2 perception, Spanish listeners, acoustic cues, English sibilants

(1) Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Spain.

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