Ultimate attainment of Spanish laterals by native English-speaking immigrants in Spain
Compared to English, Spanish laterals are produced with the tongue farther fronted in the mouth, and this is especially true in syllable codas where English has a velarized lateral. L1 English speakers learning Spanish as an L2 need to learn to produce lighter laterals in all contexts, and especially in syllable codas. Previous studies have shown that learners of L2 Spanish do not eliminate the influence of the more back L1 English laterals but have not examined more experienced learner groups than graduate students studying Spanish. The present study investigates the lateral production of L1 English-speaking immigrants to central Spain who have spent much of their lives living in Spain, immersed in the culture and language. As a group, the learners’ laterals differ significantly from those of native Spanish speakers, but individual learners are either native-like or come very close to native-like pronunciation when comparing their productions to native speaker ranges. This finding stands out from findings of other studies with this same learner population where they do not come close to having a native-like pronunciation.
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