Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0213-2028
  • E-ISSN: 2254-6774
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This study reports on the production of the five Spanish vowels in stressed and unstressed contexts by English-speaking advanced learners of Spanish at two experience levels who differed according to phonological short-term memory (PSTM) capacity. Our findings indicate that learners with higher PSTM capacity were less likely to reduce both stressed and unstressed vowels in Spanish. Consequently, learners with higher PSTM in fourth-year Spanish courses produced vowels that were more native-like than lower PSTM fourth-year learners. On the other hand, higher PSTM graduate students of Spanish produced a Spanish vowel space that was more expanded than that of native Spanish, particularly for /u/, compared to lower PSTM graduate learners, who were more native-like. These findings suggest that PSTM does play a role in second language phonology, even at advanced levels, and may help to explain why individual differences in pronunciation exist even at very high levels of second language proficiency.


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