Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2542-3835
  • E-ISSN: 2542-3843
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This study evaluated the effect of input variation on the production and perception of English phonetic segments by native Spanish adults who had immigrated to the United States after the age of 16 years. The native Spanish (NS) participants were assigned to three groups of 20 each according to years of English input (years of U.S. residence multiplied by percent English use outside the home). Experiment 1 assessed the perceived relation between English and Spanish vowels. It yielded similar results for the NS groups designated “Low input” ( = 0.2 years of input), “Mid” ( = 1.2 years) and “High” ( = 3.0 years). Experiments 2–4 examined English vowel discrimination, vowel production and consonant discrimination. Apart from a modest improvement in vowel discrimination, these experiments showed little improvement as years of English input increased. One possible explanation for the essentially null finding of this study is that input matters little or not at all when an L2 is learned naturalistically following the closure of a critical period. Another possibility is that adequate native speaker input is crucial for L2 speech learning but the input differences evaluated here were insufficient to yield measurable improvements in performance. We conclude the article by illustrating a new technique that might be used to choose between these competing explanations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): critical period; EMA; English; ESM; L2; perception; phonetic segments; production; SLM; Spanish
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