/u/-fronting in English speakers’ L1 but not in L2.


Abstract  This paper presents an acoustic analysis of the three corner cardinal vowels in the Diapix Foreign Language corpus (DIAPIX-FL). English and Spanish native speakers speaking both their L1 and L2 were analysed. We investigated to what extent L1 vowel characteristics influence the production of L2 vowels. The acoustic analysis shows vowels occupy a more compact F1/F2 space when speaking Spanish and a clear F1 spread for /a/ when speaking English, whether speaking natively or not. /u/-fronting in English occurs for both native and non-native speakers, although the degree of /u/-fronting is much larger for the English group. English speakers seem to create a separate category for the L2 /u/ rather than using their L1 sound. The Spanish show some adjustment in their English /u/ and /a/ realisations. We conclude that the transfer of L1 vowel characteristics to L2 realisations is smaller than expected.

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