Production of English Vowel Contrasts in Spanish L1 Learners: A Longitudinal Study




formants, native Spanish-speaking learners, longitudinal study, L2 English, vowels


The present study undertakes a longitudinal examination of forty postgraduate students, native Spanish speakers, during their first year at a UK university. The research focuses on both individual and collective progress in mastering distinctions within English vowel pairs (/iː/-/ɪ/, /ɪ/-/e/, and /uː/-/ʊ/), with a specific focus on adaptations towards achieving native-like English vowel pronunciation, particularly in terms of vowel quality. Prior research indicates that adult Spanish learners encounter difficulties in mastering the intricate linguistic nuances presented by English. The methodology involved recording Spanish-speaking participants reading a list of words (CVC context) at three different time points over a year. The analysis was based on formant frequencies using Praat, and Euclidean distances were calculated to represent the degree of separation between each pair of vowels. Information about external factors potentially influencing the development of vowel productions among speakers was gathered through a language background questionnaire. The outcomes suggested varying rates of advancement within the group, which could be attributed to the diverse levels of exposure and interaction with native English speakers during their year of study in the UK. These results affirm the learning processes in adult L2 production, emphasizing the critical role played by both the quantity and quality of time in the assimilation of pronunciations to novel L2 segments.


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How to Cite

Valenzuela, M. G., & French, P. (2023). Production of English Vowel Contrasts in Spanish L1 Learners: A Longitudinal Study. Loquens, 10(1-2), e102.