Perception of Welsh vowel contrasts by Welsh-Spanish bilinguals in Argentina

Elise Adrienne Bell


This study investigates the perception of Welsh vowel contrasts by Welsh-Spanish bilinguals. A two-alternative forced choice perception task elicited subjects’ reliance on vowel tenseness and duration in the identification of ambiguous Welsh vowels. Results demonstrate no effect of order of acquisition on speakers’ reliance on duration (over vowel quality) as a cue to vowel identity in Welsh. This supports past work demonstrating that speakers of a language which lacks a given contrast perceptually rely on the most salient phonetic dimension of that contrast in an L2. Results were also atypical: language dominance outweighed a predicted age of acquisition effect on speakers adaptation to L2 phonetic cues.


bilingualism; second language acquisition; speech perception; Welsh; Spanish

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