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Article

The Sound Pattern of Heritage Spanish: An Exploratory Study on the Effects of a Classroom Experience

1
Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
2
Department of Linguistics, University of Iowa, Iowa, IA 52242-1323, USA
3
Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7505, USA
4
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Languages 2020, 5(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040072
Received: 8 September 2020 / Revised: 9 December 2020 / Accepted: 15 December 2020 / Published: 18 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish)
While heritage Spanish phonetics and phonology and classroom experiences have received increased attention in recent years, these areas have yet to converge. Furthermore, most research in these realms is cross-sectional, ignoring individual or group changes across time. We aim to connect research strands and fill gaps associated with the aforementioned areas by conducting an individual-level empirical analysis of narrative data produced by five female heritage speakers of Spanish at the beginning and end of a semester-long heritage language instruction class. We focus on voiced and voiceless stop consonants, vowel quality, mean pitch, pitch range, and speech rate. Our acoustic and statistical outputs of beginning versus end data reveal that each informant exhibits a change in between three and five of the six dependent variables, showing that exposure to a more formal register through a classroom experience over the course of a semester constitutes enough input to influence the heritage language sound system, even if the sound system is not an object of explicit instruction. We interpret the significant changes through the lenses of the development of formal speech and discursive strategies, phonological retuning, and speech style and pragmatic effects, while also acknowledging limitations to address in future related work. View Full-Text
Keywords: phonetics; phonology; vowel; stop consonant; pitch; speech rate; Spanish; heritage speaker; classroom phonetics; phonology; vowel; stop consonant; pitch; speech rate; Spanish; heritage speaker; classroom
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rao, R.; Fuchs, Z.; Polinsky, M.; Parra, M.L. The Sound Pattern of Heritage Spanish: An Exploratory Study on the Effects of a Classroom Experience. Languages 2020, 5, 72. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040072

AMA Style

Rao R, Fuchs Z, Polinsky M, Parra ML. The Sound Pattern of Heritage Spanish: An Exploratory Study on the Effects of a Classroom Experience. Languages. 2020; 5(4):72. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040072

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rao, Rajiv, Zuzanna Fuchs, Maria Polinsky, and María L. Parra. 2020. "The Sound Pattern of Heritage Spanish: An Exploratory Study on the Effects of a Classroom Experience" Languages 5, no. 4: 72. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5040072

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