Many second language acquisition studies analyze the effects that the first language has on the development of the second, but less common are studies that examine the reverse situation: does acquisition of a second language affect the first? This study examines the effects of second language acquisition on first language use by looking at the English phonological productions of advanced English-speaking learners of Spanish; specifically, it investigates aspiration, or Voice Onset Time (VOT), of the voiceless consonants /p, t, k/ in both English and Spanish. Following Flege's (1987, 2005) Merger Hypothesis, it is hypothesized that the production of first language VOT values will be inadvertently impacted by the acquisition of a second language with different VOT values. Fifteen (5 native English speakers with advanced levels of Spanish and two control groups of 7 monolingual English speakers and 3 monolingual Spanish speakers) took part in an oral production experiment to determine the effect their second language has on the production of their first. Results indicate a tentative correlation between advanced levels of proficiency in a second language and changes in the first.
Selected Proceedings of the 10th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Joyce Bruhn de Garavito and Elena Valenzuela
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