Book: Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology
Chapter: Production and Perception of Danish Front Rounded /y/: A Comparison of Ultimate Attainment in Native Spanish and Native English Speakers
Front rounded vowels are part of the inventory of most Germanic languages, but are typically absent in Romance languages. We report a study which examined native Spanish speakers’ ultimate attainment with regards to the perception and production of Danish /y/. Acoustic comparisons of natively produced Spanish /i, u/ and Danish /i, y, u/, as well as the perceptual assimilation of Danish /i, u, y/ to Spanish /i, u/ were used to generate predictions of the perception and production accuracy of Danish /y/ by highly experienced native Spanish speakers based on Flege’s (1995) Speech Leaning Model (SLM) and Best & Tyler’s (2007) Perceptual Assimilation Model as applied to L2 learning (PAM-L2). Our results confirm the predictions of both models: Highly experienced native Spanish speakers discriminate Danish /i y/ and /y, u/ near ceiling, and they produce a Danish-like /y/, providing further evidence of adults’ intact speech learning abilities.