Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2215-1931
  • E-ISSN: 2215-194X
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This study investigates how speakers who speak Brazilian Portuguese as their first language and English as their second language perceive the English phonemes /h/ and /ɹ/, and how they and monolingual Brazilian Portuguese speakers map these phonemes onto Portuguese sound categories. Participants took part in three experiments: an AXB discrimination test, an identification test, and a cross-language assimilation test, which was also taken by monolinguals. Lower and higher proficiency groups were able to hear the distinction acoustically, but only the higher proficiency group used the distinction to identify English words. Monolingual Brazilian Portuguese speakers and the higher proficiency group assimilated English /h/ primarily to Portuguese /h/. However, the phonological environment had an effect for monolinguals, but not for the higher proficiency group. The lower proficiency group, which one might expect to fall in between these two groups, showed a failure to assimilate English sounds to the Portuguese categories.


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