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Book: Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology

Chapter: English Sonorant Codas in a Brazilian Portuguese-English Bilingual Context

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27354


This paper investigates the production of English codas by Brazilians who arrived in the United States as adults and spent over five years in the country. The focus is (1) to examine the types of L1 phonological processes found in the L2 production of English nasals (/m/ and /n/) and the liquid /l/ in coda position, and (2) to investigate the internal and external factors that motivated the variation observed. Due to L1 transfer and grapheme-to-phoneme rules, these target segments may undergo a variety of phonological processes such as (1) nasal deletion and the subsequent nasalization of the preceding vowel (e.g., sun à [sã]) and (2) l-gliding (e.g., sail à [sejw]). The data consist of 30 CVC words distributed among three following phonological environments: a pause, a vowel, and a consonant. Thirty-one participants were asked to read aloud these words, embedded in “meaningful” carrier sentences. To investigate the effects of orthography, 50% of the words in the reading task ended in a consonant grapheme (e.g., 'sun') and the remaining words ended in a vowel grapheme (e.g., 'pine'). The data analysis includes a discussion of the internal (following phonological environment, orthography) and external variables (speakers’ background variables such as L2 proficiency, formal education, age and reported L2 use) that affect the productions of the target consonants. The paper also discusses how the acquisition of a second language differs from that of a foreign language.

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