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Speakers' Intuitions about L2 Syllable Structure: Diphthong vs. Hiatus Resolution in Spanish by English-Speaking Learners
Germán Zárate-Sández
164-181 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The overall purpose of this study was to analyze second language learners' intuitions about vocalic sequences that native speakers judge as tautosyllabic. English-speaking learners of Spanish (n=100) at three proficiency levels completed a syllabification task for 36 Spanish words, 17 cognates and 19 non-cognates, containing diphthongs of both rising and falling sonority. The following general results were obtained in this study: (1) Spanish learners tended to produce a hiatus where native speakers (control group) prefer a diphthong, (2) there was an inhibitory effect from cognates with hiatuses in English, (3) no difference was found among proficiency levels, and (4) transfer from the L1 played a larger role than initially predicted. Findings are discussed within a non-selective approach to lexical access, in particular for the role of cognate effects. Also, the interplay between developmental and interference errors is analyzed since non-target-like forms in this study seemed to provide evidence for both.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2009 Second Language Research Forum: Diverse Contributions to SLA
edited by Luke Plonsky and Maren Schierloh
Table of contents
Printed edition: $240.00