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This study explores the impact of study abroad (SA) on second language Spanish phonetic development. Twenty-seven English-speaking learners of Spanish, 15 who were participating in a 4-week SA program in the Dominican Republic and 12 who were studying at their home (AH) institution, were recorded 5 weeks apart (at the approximate beginning and end of their respective programs). Recordings were analyzed acoustically, and four groups of segments were examined: word-initial /p t k/, intervocalic /b d ɡ/, intervocalic /ɾ/ and /r/, and word-final /l/. Productions at Time 1 and Time 2 as well as between the SA and AH groups were compared. Results suggested a minor benefit of the SA environment for phonetic development of some of the segments but with notable individual variation in both groups.


This article was published in Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, volume 8, issue 2, 2015 by De Gruyter. The article can also be found online at this link: