Josefa María Burgos y Guillén
Non-native pronunciation: Patterns of learner variation in Spanish-accented Dutch
New Spanish migrants began to arrive in the Netherlands nearly ten years ago, following the economic crisis in 2008 and the steep rise in the Spanish unemployment rate. These Spanish migrants are highly skilled, mobile, highly educated, and speak English well. Most of them work in the high-tech and healthcare sectors. While they can get along communicating in English at first, they soon become aware of the importance of speaking Dutch, because it is required at work or because they want to improve their social interaction.
Learning Dutch is hard for adult Spaniards, and when asked what the most difficult aspect of learning Dutch is, most of them would probably answer: “la pronunciación”, ‘the pronunciation’. The main aim of this investigation is to study the pronunciation problems of adult Spanish learners of Dutch, and their possible sources, as well as to find out how well native Dutch listeners perceive Spanish-accented Dutch pronunciation, in terms of intelligibility.
This investigation contributes to the development of specific learning tools for native speakers of Spanish who wish to improve their pronunciation accuracy in Dutch. The outcomes of this dissertation throw light on the specific pronunciation problems Spanish learners of Dutch have, as well as their sources. Such insights can help to propose pedagogical direction in phonological instruction in the Dutch L2 classroom, to develop dedicated CAPT (Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training) programs, and to create materials aimed at raising phonological awareness among Spanish learners.