The phonological and phonetic development of new vowel contrasts in Spanish learners of English
This paper reports the findings of an experimental study that investigated the perception of Standard Scottish English (SSE) /i/-/I/ by Spanish speakers. Many of the learners of this study adequately identified and discriminated the new contrast, but did so by using vowel duration, an auditory dimension that serves as a secondary cue in native SSE vowel perception. In addition, the individual L2 results patterned in a way that suggested a stage-like development in the phonological and phonetic acquisition of the new contrast. These results demonstrate that L2 learners can learn to perceive new L2 vowels phonologically in a native-like fashion and that, in same cases, they can also learn to adjust to the fine phonetic differences of such new vowels.