Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This study examines the acquisition of the Spanish spirantization of /b/, /d/ and /g/ by a group of very advanced L2 learners who immigrated to Spain from the United States and have lived in central Spain for many years. While spirantization has received considerable attention in previous L2 research on Spanish, the participants in previous studies have typically been newer learners of Spanish, typically studying at the university level. By examining the production of immigrants to Spain, the present study provides insight into ultimate attainment, and whether this results in a native-like pronunciation in the case of spirantization. Productions are examined both categorically to determine the manner of articulation employed (i.e., approximant, fricative, stop) and also gradiently, using intensity measurements to determine the degree of spirantization when approximants are produced. The comparisons for manner of articulation show significant differences between native Spanish speakers and L2 learners, although when approximants are produced the intensity measurements often do not differ significantly between the two groups. The degree to which individual learners approach native-like pronunciation, both in terms of manner of articulation and intensity measurements of produced approximants, varies considerably.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alvord, Scott M. & Diane E. Christiansen
    2012 “Factors influencing the acquisition of Spanish voiced stop spirantization during an extended stay abroad.” Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics6: 239–276.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bongiovanni, Silvina , Avizia Y. Long , Megan Solon and Erik W. Willis
    2015 “The effect of short-term study abroad on second language Spanish phonetic development”. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics8: 243–283. doi: 10.1515/shll‑2015‑0010
    https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2015-0010 [Google Scholar]
  3. Brown, Gillian
    1990Listening to spoken English, 2nd ed.New York: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bybee, Joan
    2001Phonology and language use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511612886
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511612886 [Google Scholar]
  5. Cole, Jennifer , José I. Hualde and Khalil Iskarous
    1999 “Effects of prosodic and segmental context on /g/-lenition in Spanish.” InProceedings of the Fourth International Linguistics and Phonetics Conference, ed. by O. Fujimura , B. D. Joseph & B. Palek , 575–589. Prague: Karolinum Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Dalbor, John B.
    1996Spanish pronunciation: theory and practice, 3rd ed.Boston: Heinle.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Díaz-Campos, Manuel
    2004 “Context of learning of Spanish second language phonology”. Studies in Second Language Acquisition26 (2): 249–273. doi: 10.1017/S0272263104262052
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263104262052 [Google Scholar]
  8. 2006 “The effect of style in second language phonology: An analysis of segmental acquisition in study abroad and regular-classroom students”. InSelected proceedings of the 7th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese as First and Second Languagesed. by C. A. Klee & T. L. Face , 26–39. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Eddington, David
    2011 “What are the contextual phonetic variants of /β,ð,ɣ/ in Spanish?” Probus23: 1–19. doi: 10.1515/prbs.2011.001
    https://doi.org/10.1515/prbs.2011.001 [Google Scholar]
  10. Elliott, A. Raymond
    1997 “On the teaching and acquisition of pronunciation within a communicative approach”. Hispania80: 96–108. doi: 10.2307/345983
    https://doi.org/10.2307/345983 [Google Scholar]
  11. Face, Timothy L. & Mandy R. Menke
    2009 “Acquisition of the Spanish voiced spirants by second language learners”. InSelected proceedings of the 11th Hispanic Linguistics Symposiumed. by J. Collentine , M. García , B. Lafford & F. Marcos Marín , 39–52. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Gimson, A. C.
    1989An introduction to the pronunciation of English, 4th ed.London: Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. González-Bueno, Manuela
    1995 “Adquisición de los alófonos fricativos de las oclusivas sonoras españolas por aprendices del español como segunda lengua”. Estudios de lingüística aplicada13: 64–79.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Harris, James W.
    1984 “La espirantización en castellano y la representación fonológica autosegmental”. Working Papers in Linguistics1: 149–167. Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Hieke, A. E.
    1987 “Absorption and fluency in native and non-native casual English speech”. InSound patterns in second language acquisitioned. by A. James & J. Leather , 41–58. Dordrecht: Foris.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Hualde, José Ignacio , Ryan Shosted and Daniel Scarpace
    2011 “Acoustics and articulation of Spanish /d/ spirantization.” InProceedings of the XVIIth International Congress of Phonetic Sciencesed. by W. S. Lee & E. Zee , 906–909. Hong Kong, China: City University of Hong Kong.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Hualde, José Ignacio , Miquel Simonet and Marianna Nadeu
    2011 “Consonant lenition and phonological recategorization.” Laboratory Phonology2: 301–329. doi: 10.1515/labphon.2011.011
    https://doi.org/10.1515/labphon.2011.011 [Google Scholar]
  18. Kinsella, Ciara and David Singleton
    2014 “Much more than age”. Applied Linguistics35: 441–462. doi: 10.1093/applin/amu032
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amu032 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lord, Gillian
    2005 “Can we teach foreign language pronunciation? The effects of a phonetics class on second language pronunciation”. Hispania88: 557–567. doi: 10.2307/20063159
    https://doi.org/10.2307/20063159 [Google Scholar]
  20. 2010 “The combined effects of instruction and immersion on second language pronunciation”. Foreign Language Annals43: 488–503. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01094.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01094.x [Google Scholar]
  21. Martínez Celdrán, Eugenio
    2013 “Caracterización acústica de las aproximantes espirantes en español”. Estudios de fonética experimental22: 11–35.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Mascaró, Joan
    1991 “Iberian spirantization and continuant spreading”. Catalan Working Papers in Linguistics: 167–179.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Morgan, Terrell A.
    2010Sonidos en contexto: una introducción a la fonética del español con especial referencia a la vida real. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Moyer, Alene
    2013Foreign accent: The phenomenon of non-native speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511794407
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511794407 [Google Scholar]
  25. 2014 “Exceptional outcomes in L2 phonology: The critical factors of learner engagement and self-regulation”. Applied Linguistics35: 418–440. doi: 10.1093/applin/amu012
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amu012 [Google Scholar]
  26. Navarro Tomás, Tomás
    1965Manual de pronunciación española. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Ortega-Llebaria, Marta
    2004 “Interplay between phonetic inventory constraints in the degree of spirantization of voiced stops: Comparing intervocalic /b/ and intervocalic /g/ in Spanish and English”. InLaboratory approaches to Spanish phonologyed. by T. L. Face , 237–253. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Rogers, Brandon M. A. and Scott M. Alvord
    2014 “The gradience of spirantization: Factors affecting L2 production of intervocalic Spanish [β̞ ð̞ ɣ̞]”. Spanish in Context11: 402–424. doi: 10.1075/sic.11.3.05rog
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sic.11.3.05rog [Google Scholar]
  29. Shively, Rachel L.
    2008 “L2 acquisition of [β], [ð], and [ɣ] in Spanish: Impact of experience, linguistic environment, and learner variables”. Southwest Journal of Linguistics27(2): 79–114.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Zampini, Mary
    1994 “The role of native language transfer and task formality in the acquisition of Spanish spirantization”. Hispania77: 470–481. doi: 10.2307/344974
    https://doi.org/10.2307/344974 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Spanish; spirantization; ultimate attainment
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error