Factors influencing the second language acquisition of Spanish vibrants

Luz Marcela Hurtado, Chelsea Estrada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This article examines the role of linguistic and sociolinguistic factors in the second language (L2) acquisition of Spanish vibrants. The data consist of 2 sets of recordings from 37 students enrolled in a Spanish pronunciation class. The statistical program VarbRul was used to analyze 7,597 samples. The vibration (simple or multiple) and the articulatory effort involved in the preceding consonant (velar and bilabial) as well as in the position of the vibrants within the word (cluster or intervocalic) were the most influential linguistic factors in the achievement of the Spanish articulation. Two other significant variables were found: Level of classes abroad and effect of instruction for those in the on-campus pronunciation course. The results point out the specific linguistic aspects and styles that should be emphasized in classroom practices. They also suggest that pronunciation instruction/acquisition on the vibrants is more effective after the intermediate level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-86
Number of pages13
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


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