Heritage and second language learner perception of Spanish pronunciation.

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Spanish heritage language (HL) learners demonstrate measurable differences in their production and accent when compared to both native speakers (NS) and second language (L2) learners of Spanish (Montrul, 2011; Potowski, 2009; Rao, 2014; Shea, 2019). This research sought to continue study in phonological perception by testing HL learners’ assessments of other speakers. The results suggest that differing language experience of L2 and HL learners of Spanish is associated with their perceptions of the proficiency, native-like accent, and language identity of other speakers. Findings also suggest that HL learners and NS are less likely than L2 learners to focus on phonetics when identifying the language proficiency, accent, and identity of Spanish speakers and they respond more favorably to other speakers’ proficiency and accent when compared to L2 learners. This thesis contributes to our understanding of perception and addresses the need for additional research in this area or heritage linguistics.

Language. Second language. Bilingualism. Heritage language. Spanish. Linguistics. Pronunciation. Phonetics.