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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

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27350


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.

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