Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jesus Duarte SURF SMART

Perception of /d/ by Spanish-English Bilinguals

The consonant /d/ in English and Spanish differs in its place of articulation: English has alveolar [d] while Spanish has dental [d̪]. Previous research has reported that Spanish-English bilinguals are able to produce both constrictions, resembling two monolinguals. Thus, this research will focus on two main questions: a) How do Spanish-English bilinguals acquire this distinction? and b) how late can they acquire this distinction? We will collect data through a series of tasks in which Spanish-English bilingual subjects will discriminate between manipulated /d/ stimuli, allowing us to identify which acoustic cues they are more sensitive to. Furthermore, by comparing different ages of acquisition of a second language, we will analyze which age groups are most sensitive to this acoustic distinction and when sensitivity starts to decrease. This research will also allow us to better understand how age affects language acquisition, and if there is an age limit after which subjects can no longer acquire ”native” production of a language.

Message To Sponsor

I really want to thank my sponsor, The Johnson Fund, for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to work this summer with my mentor. This summer was an amazing experience, it really helped me grow as a person and as a scholar. Prior to this experience, I had no idea there were so many steps that go into research and this experience will be really beneficial when I start doing research on my own. Also, Thanks to this opportunity I have decided to continue my research in Perceptual phonetics and work on my honors thesis on a related topic!
Profile image of Jesus Duarte
Major: Linguistics, Hispanic Linguistics & Bilingualism
Mentor: Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete
Sponsor: Johnson Fund
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