Doctor of Philosophy
The purpose of the present thesis is to determine whether equivalence classification (e.g., Flege, 1995) operates in the same way auditory imitation of an unfamiliar dialect as in second language (L2) acquisition of speech. As such, it will investigate assibilated rhotic imitation in Ecuadorian Spanish by Andalusian Spanish speakers. Despite a considerable increase in interest in D2 phonological acquisition in later years (e.g., Babel, 2009; Nielsen, 2011), little research has been done to determine whether the same mechanisms responsible for L2 production also underlie auditory imitation of an unfamiliar dialect. While Ecuadorian Spanish is characterized by assibilated and fricative rhotics (e.g., Lipski, 1994), Andalusian Spanish is mainly characterized by trills and taps (e.g., Blecua Falgueras, 2001). The Andalusian variety may include sibilants as allophonic variants of the affricates, as in [tʃ] → [ʃ] (e.g., Carbonero, 1982, 2001). 31 high educated Sevillian Andalusian Spanish speakers were recorded in this study. The participants completed imitation tasks, reading tasks, and a background questionnaire. The findings were compared to a previous study on the L2 acquisition of these “r” sounds by English-speaking learners of Mexican Spanish. This thesis contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the early stages auditory imitation an unfamiliar dialect and assesses the effect of linguistic and extralinguistic factors in the production of the Ecuadorian assibilated rhotics. In all, the similarity between D2 and L2 production patterns suggests equivalence classification operates similarly.
Summary for Lay Audience
This study investigates whether the same processes that underlie second language (L2) acquisition, also underlie auditory imitation of an unfamiliar dialect. Specifically, it examines the imitation of a particular kind of “r” sound that has a “hissing” sound in Ecuadorian Spanish spoken by Andalusian speakers from Seville. While these sounds are common across many of the varieties of Spanish, they do not characterize Andalusian Spanish. This study involved 31 speakers of Andalusian Spanish from Seville. The participants completed imitation tasks, reading tasks, and a background questionnaire. The findings were compared to a previous study of the L2 acquisition on these “r” sounds by English-speaking learners of Mexican Spanish and suggest that auditory imitation of an unfamiliar dialect and L2 speech learning operate in a similar fashion.
Ruiz-Peña, Maria de la Esperanza, "The Imitation of Ecuadorian Assibilated Rhotics by Naïve Andalusian Speakers from Seville" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7782.
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Available for download on Friday, July 30, 2021