Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1931
  • E-ISSN: 2215-194X
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This study examines the developmental patterns manifested in the intonational grammar of American English-speaking learners of Spanish based on their use of intonational features (e.g., [±delayed peak], [±deaccentuation], or [±compression]) involved in focus marking in three different discursive contexts (i.e., broad focus, informational subject focus and corrective subject focus). The data, collected through a Question & Answer pairs task performed by learners and native speakers, suggests that while development towards the target language is possible, it is constrained by markedness and learnability. The analysis of the results is framed within Mennen’s L2 Intonation Learning theory, which considers the multidimensionality that characterizes intonational grammars and the complexity of the acquisition process as a result of it. Individual factors related to the learners’ experience (i.e., experience abroad and hours of exposure) were examined and extended periods of immersion (i.e., more than 8 months) were found to have a positive effect.


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