The Effect of Dialect Familiarity via a Study Abroad Experience on L2 Comprehension of Spanish
Lauren Beth Schmidt
143-154 (complete paper
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Speaker dialect has been found to play an important role in listening comprehension by learners of a second language (L2) (Eisenstein and Berkowitz 1981, Major et al. 2005, Wilcox 1978), with comprehensibility related to dialect familiarity (Tauroza and Luk 1997). Although the effect of various varieties of English on L2 comprehension has been frequently considered, this is the first study to examine the effects of dialect exposure on comprehension of Spanish as an L2. This study considers the effect of exposure to a previously unfamiliar dialect of Spanish, Dominican Spanish, through a study abroad experience, on the listening comprehension of Dominican speech by a group of intermediate through near-native L2 learners of Spanish. Results find an effect of dialect familiarity on L2 listening comprehension, with significant gains in comprehension of the Dominican speech, but not of the speech samples of the other Spanish varieties, at both the word and phrase levels after the study abroad experience. Findings also suggest that certain phonological features of the Dominican speech may cause greater difficulties for the L2 listeners than other features.
Selected Proceedings of the 11th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Joseph Collentine, Maryellen García, Barbara Lafford, and Francisco Marcos Marín
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