Acoustic analysis of voiceless initial stops in the speech of study abroad and regular class students: Context of learning as a variable in Spanish second language acquisition

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2003

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Cascadilla Proceedings Project

Abstract

Studies in the area of second language acquisition have pointed out that context of learning is an important factor for predicting subjects' linguistic gain (Armstrong 1981, Brecht 1993a, 1993b; Brecht, Davidson. and Ginsberg 1995. Freed 1995. submitted, Lafford 1995, submitted, Lapkin, Hart, and Swain 1995, Collentine submitted, Diaz-Campos submitted, Lazar submitted, Segalowtiz submitted; among others). In general terms, these previous investigations found that students traveling abroad to a country where the target language is spoken return home with a better linguistic command. For instance, Armstrong (1981 :85), who analyzes a group of study abroad students of Spanish in a program in Mexico, maintains: "The discussion of achievement in the four skills in chapter 3 pointed out that listening, reading, and writing gains proved to be greater than those which might be normally expected in a full year of traditional language instruction at the high school level." This idea of improvement after a study abroad program is also pointed out by Freed (1995) in her survey of the literature examining linguistic gain in the study abroad context. Nonetheless, she also maintains that what emerges from previous studies is a somewhat a contradictory perspective as far as linguistic benefits are concerned in a study abroad experience. Freed (1995:8} agrees with Ellis (1994) in that formal instruction is an important key aspect for developing proficiency in a second language, especially if the process of learning includes opportunities for natural exposure.

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Paper presented at the 6th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium and the 5th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese, which were held together at the University of Iowa on October 18-20, 2002.

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Díaz-Campos, Manuel. 2003. Acoustic analysis of voiceless initial stops in the speech of study abroad and regular class students: Context of learning as a variable in Spanish second language acquisition. In Theory, practice, and Aacquisition: Papers from the 6th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium and the 5th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese, ed. Paula Kempchinsky and Carlos-Eduardo Piñeros, 352-370. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla.

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