The acquisition of voicing assimilation by advanced Hungarian learners of Spanish

Bárkányi, Zsuzsanna (2018). The acquisition of voicing assimilation by advanced Hungarian learners of Spanish. Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada/Spanish Journal of Applied Linguistics, 31(1) pp. 1–31.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/resla.17016.bar

Abstract

This study examines the effect of explicit phonological instruction on the acquisition of variable /s/ voicing in Spanish by advanced Hungarian learners. Hungarian and Spanish have very similar yet not identical voicing assimilation (VA) systems; the most important difference lies in the pre-sonorant context as sonorant consonants trigger voicing assimilation in Spanish but not in Hungarian. Data were collected in acoustic experiments from 7 native speakers of Northern Peninsular Spanish and 12 Hungarian university students, advanced learners of Spanish. The latter group was tested twice: before and after a three-month Spanish phonetics and phonology course. Our data reveals that this amount of instruction is not enough for L2 speakers to overcome their L1 VA system, which might be attributed in part to the variable, allophonic nature of the process, the similarity between the two languages’ VA systems and lack of exposure to the relevant dialect.

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