Edited by Sandro Sessarego, Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana and Adrián Rodríguez-Riccelli
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 29] 2020
► pp. 127–162
The Perceptual Assimilation Model for L2 speakers and the Speech Learning Model make predictions about the difficulty of acquisition based on pre-existing boundaries in learners’ L1s. This study focuses on differences between voice onset time in English and Spanish stops, especially related to perceptual cues. Participants – 10 Spanish native speakers and 131 L1 English learners of Spanish at various levels – categorized 120 stimuli containing Spanish minimal pairs beginning with voiced and voiceless stops and the distractor /r/. Classifications varied based on acoustic manipulations of VOT, the original phone, and proficiency level. While VOT is an important determiner in perceptual boundaries, and learners can acquire L2 distinctions (although often not achieving native-like patterns), additional acoustic differences affect sound identification.