PERCEPTION OF FOREIGN ACCENT IN HERITAGE SPEAKERS OF SPANISH

Date

2023-05-24

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Abstract

Even though a vast amount of research has been conducted on second-language accent perception, little has been studied in terms of accent perception of heritage speakers. Furthermore, there is a lack of a phonetic standard capable of accurately measuring the accent of Spanish heritage speakers in a context of contact with English, due to the dichotomous system of classification and description of accent perception, which provides a limited and rigid alternative for accent perception: native speaker or second language speakers. This is perhaps because heritage speakers are generally perceived as having native-like pronunciation. This study focused on the perception of foreign accent of heritage speakers of Spanish. Specifically, it investigated if heritage speakers acquire a foreign accent in their heritage language as compared with monolingual native speakers or late bilingual native speakers of Spanish, and whether degree of bilingualism (as measured by the Bilingual Language Profile) is relevant. The results of this study contributed, in a scientific and methodological way, to the main discussion of the definition and description of a possible heritage accent.

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Keywords

Heritage speakers, Spanish heritage speakers, Foreign accent, Accent perception, Bilingual language profile

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