Ander Beristain, a PhD student from the Spanish & Portuguese Department, will be giving a practice job talk for an upcoming on-campus visit at Mississippi State University for the position of Assistant Professor of Linguistics.
“The coarticulatory acquisition of L2 English vowel patterns by Spanish and French speakers”
Most work on second and heritage language and bilingual phonology has focused on individual consonants and vowels, omitting how combining sounds might inter-affect each other (i.e., coarticulation). Additionally, the few studies that have investigated foreign coarticulatory patterns (e.g., Colantoni et al., 2021; Davidson, 2011; Oh, 2008; Zsiga, 2003), found that only more advanced learners were more prone to show the ability to ‘move away’ from their native coarticulatory systems. However, these studies were limited by small sample size and the fact that learners’ linguistic proficiency was either self-reported or assumed by the time span of foreign language learning, thus making it difficult to draw robust conclusions. The present project will illustrate how L1 Spanish, heritage Spanish, and L1 French speakers acquire English vocalic patterns such as coarticulatory vowel nasalization and the extent to which vowels are lengthened in certain contexts. The project will explore in a larger population whether bilingual speakers can establish distinct coarticulatory patterns in their two languages and whether there are cross-linguistic effects and a correlation between linguistic proficiency (rated by trained judges) and satisfactory foreign coarticulatory acquisition. Finally, a new phonological model that is more inclusive towards coarticulatory acquisition by diverse bilingual populations is presented.
Colantoni, L., Kochetov, A., & Steele, J. (2021). Articulatory settings and L2 English coronal consonants. Phonetica.
Davidson, L. (2011). Phonetic and Phonological factors in the second language production of phonemes and phonotactics. Language and Linguistics Compass, 5(3), 126-139.
Oh, E. (2008). Coarticulation in non-native speakers of English and French: An acoustic study. Journal of Phonetics, 36, 361-384.
Zsiga, E. (2003). Articulatory timing in a second language. Evidence from Russian and English. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 25, 399-342.