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A Reexamination of Ultimate Attainment in L2 Phonology: Length of Immersion, Motivation, and Phonological Short-Term Memory
Charles Nagle
148-161 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The current study investigated phonological attainment among a sample of 34 English-speaking late-learners of L2 Spanish. Participants completed a language background questionnaire, motivation assessment, operation span task, and phonological short-term memory task, and recorded three speaking tasks. As a point of comparison, three native Spanish-speaking participants also recorded the speaking tasks. Four naïve L1 Spanish raters subsequently evaluated the speech clips. Regression analyses on the raters' scores revealed that length of immersion, motivation, and phonological short-term memory accounted for 70% of the variance in the sample. Furthermore, three learners received ratings that fell within the native range. Taken together, these findings suggest that immersion, motivation, and PSTM are critical factors that determine end-state phonological attainment for the learners in this study, as well as that late-learners appear to be capable of achieving near-native pronunciation in a foreign language.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2011 Second Language Research Forum: Converging Theory and Practice
edited by Erik Voss, Shu-Ju Diana Tai, and Zhi Li
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Printed edition: $280.00