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.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited