Document Type


Publication Date

February 2018

Publication Title

Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology (CASPSLaP)


First and Second Language Acquisition | Phonetics and Phonology | Spanish Linguistics


Research on the second language (L2) acquisition of the voiced intervocalic stops /b d g/ in Spanish (e.g., lobo “wolf,” lado “side,” lago “lake”) has been instrumental in analyzing and describing the process by which learners acquire aspects of a L2 sound system. However, this particular strand of research has been conducted nearly exclusively on native English-speaking learners (e.g., Bongiovanni et al., 2015; Cabrelli Amaro, 2017; Díaz-Campos, 2004; Face & Menke, 2009; Lord, 2010; Zampini, 1994, 1997), limiting the generalizability of attested findings to learners of distinct first language (L1) backgrounds. This study examined 66 native Korean-speaking learners’ acquisition of intervocalic /b d g/ in Spanish. Specifically, the range and frequency of phonetic forms produced in intervocalic /b d g/ contexts were explored across distinct proficiency levels, as well as the linguistic and extralinguistic variables influencing learners’ productions. The Korean learners were enrolled in university-level Spanish language and/or content courses in South Korea at the time of the study. Learners were assigned to one of four levels as determined by the number of years spent learning Spanish in a formal, instructed context (e.g., 0-1 year, 1-2 years, etc.). To examine learners’ production of intervocalic /b d g/, each learner participated in a recorded, semi-structured picture identification task from which embedded tokens of the target phones were extracted and analyzed acoustically in Praat (Boersma & Weenik, 2016). For the acoustic analysis, waveforms and spectrograms were examined manually for each intervocalic stop production to arrive at a categorization of productions observed in Korean learners’ speech. Results demonstrated that the two most frequent phonetic forms produced by Korean learners at each level of proficiency included voiceless and voiced stops, respectively. However, only the highest-level learners produced more voiced than voiceless stops in the examined intervocalic stop contexts. Findings are compared to patterns of use observed for native speakers to highlight targetlike trends, as well as patterns of development observed for English-speaking learners to facilitate the discussion of shared characteristics of acquiring the voiced intervocalic stops in learner Spanish.