Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Hispanic Studies

Collaborative Specialization

Migration and Ethnic Relations


Rafat, Yasaman


This study investigates the production of the Spanish /ɾ-r/ (e.g., [ˈpɛ.ɾo] ‘but’ vs. [ˈpɛ.ro] 'dog') contrast by 30 multi-lingual Haitian Creole speakers learning Spanish, living in Tijuana, Mexico. Specifically, it (a) tests the Speech Learning Model (Flege, 1995) regarding the ease of acquisition of 'new sounds' (i.e. the Spanish rhotics), (b) examines the effect of orthography and (c) investigates the role of social factors, namely language attitude and education on the production of the Spanish rhotics. An acoustic analysis of 2396 tokens show that despite Flege's predictions, the [r] and the [ɾ] are difficult for the learners to produce, albeit the latter is easier than the former. Developmental patterns, transfer and target-like production of the /ɾ/ and the /r/ are reported. The results also indicate a novel effect of orthography, where the grapheme and the digraph trigger an asymmetrical effect in the learners' productions. Moreover, the results presented a trend, where the more educated learners had less difficulty with the production of the /r/. Furthermore, all learners reported a positive attitude towards Spanish, which may explain why there was not a significant correlation between language attitude and the production of the /ɾ-r/ contrast. The findings make an important contribution to the field of L2 and speech learning because of the various factors that have been considered in the study.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.