- Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
- Professor, Cognitive Science - GIDP
- Professor, Second Language Acquisition / Teaching - GIDP
- Member of the Graduate Faculty
- Human Subjects Research Liaison, College of Humanities
- Ph.D. Spanish (Romance Linguistics)
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America
- Language Contact on Majorca: An Experimental Sociophonetic Approach.
- M.A. Spanish (Hispanic Linguistics)
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America
- COH Outstanding Advising/Mentoring Award
- College of Humanities. University of Arizona., Spring 2014
Phonetics & Phonology; Bilingualism & Adult Second Language Acquisition; Second Language Processing, Perception, & Production; Romance Languages.
Laboratory Phonology; Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Second Language Phonological Encoding and Lexical Processing.
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- Darcy, I., Tremblay, A., & Simonet, M. (2017). Phonology in the Bilingual and Bidialectal Lexicon. Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers. doi:9782889452101More infoThe aim of this Frontiers Research Topic is to reach a more precise understanding of how individuals who know two or more languages (or dialects) or who learn a second language (or dialect) encode spoken words in the mental lexicon. Existing research on the nature of spoken-word representations has focused mainly on native speakers. An important debate in this literature is whether native speakers encode auditory words in phonetically detailed exemplars or whether phonological abstraction takes place, with a range of possibilities existing between these two endpoints. However, this particular debate has received much less attention in the bilingual (and bidialectal) literature. This Frontiers Research Topic seeks to understand the factors that determine how bilingual (and bidialectal) speakers encode words in the mental lexicon with a particular emphasis on the quality of these lexical representations: How abstract are these representations? What is the nature of these representations? The degree to which phonological abstraction takes place may well depend on factors such as age of acquisition of the language, frequency of exposure to and use of the language, and overall proficiency in the language (this last factor may or may not be dissociable from the first two factors). The degree to which phonological abstraction takes place may also depend on factors such as the type and token frequency of the particular word and the speakers’ familiarity with the word. In the case of bidialectalism, phonological abstractions may be modulated by length or intensity of bidialectalism (due perhaps to mobility) or by social forces leading to dialectal change at the level of the speech community. Investigating the role of these factors in bilingual and bidialectal speakers’ representation of spoken words also raises a number of methodological questions, including how proficiency should be assessed and how lexical frequency should be estimated. Given the complexity of bilingualism and bidialectalism, reaching a more precise understanding of these factors is the first step necessary to any account of phonology in the bilingual (and bidialectal) lexicon. We welcome original research articles, reviews, theoretical articles, methodological articles, as well as brief commentaries/opinion pieces.
- Simonet, M. (2020). Phonological encoding and Spanish phonology: The role of the syllable. In Routledge Handbook of Spanish Phonology(pp 274-287). New York, New York: Routledge.More infoDuring speech comprehension, listeners engage in a process known as phonological encoding. Phonological encoding comprises processes such as assigning gradient acoustic information to discrete phonemic categories (categorization), detecting possible word onsets in a continuous signal (segmentation), and locating words in the lexicon (lexical activation, competition, and recognition). According to some, evidence gathered from tasks that tap into phonological encoding provide crucial information for our understanding of speakers’ mental representations (i.e., phonology). In addition to investigating speech production through articulatory and acoustic studies, laboratory phonologists (and psycholinguists) conduct experimental research on phonological encoding. This chapter reviews the experimental literature on one important phonological structure of Spanish, the syllable. The encoding evidence suggests that listeners whose native language is Spanish deploy their knowledge of their language’s syllabification patterns in order to segment the speech chain into processable chunks, and to activate (and deactivate) word entries in the mental lexicon. This suggests that Spanish speakers’ knowledge of the phonology of their language includes the syllable. Most aspects of Spanish speakers’ phonological knowledge, such as assimilation or lenition rules, remain to be investigated from the perspective of phonological encoding, even though laboratory tasks are available and comparable evidence from other languages exists.
- López Velarde, M., & Simonet, M. (2019). Spoken word recognition and 'shesheo' in northwestern Mexico: A preliminary investigation into the effects of sociophonetic variability on auditory lexical access. In Recent Advances in the Study of Spanish Sociophonetic Perception(pp 266-285). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/ihll.21.10velMore infoThis study investigates the auditory lexical processing of the two main variants of “ch” (as in charco ‘puddle’) used in the Spanish spoken in northwestern Mexico. A feature of this dialect is the variable implementation of “ch” either as an affricate, [tʃ], or a fricative, [ʃ]. We designed an auditory lexical decision task with auditory priming to explore the effects (if any) of this variability on the recognition of words by members of this community. Target words were presented with either variant as their word-initial consonant (e.g., [tʃ]arco ~ [ʃ]arco), and they were preceded by auditory primes with a matching variant ([tʃ]arco-[tʃ]arco, [ʃ]arco-[ʃ]arco), a mismatching variant ([tʃ]arco-[ʃ]arco, [ʃ]arco-[tʃ]arco), or an unrelated prime. The results show that members of this community are equally likely to accept Spanish word forms produced with either variant. Furthermore, both variants primed listeners equally effectively in their recognition of spoken words, suggesting that both activate the same entry in their mental lexicon (as opposed to parallel representations). Finally, recognition was found to be faster when the word-initial phonetic variant was [tʃ]; this suggests a privilege of [tʃ] over [ʃ] at some level of representation. The results support the claim that, in cases of sociophonetic variability, members of the speech community may include more than one phonetic variant in their mental representation of words, but that, even in such cases, one of the variants may take processing precedence over the other. These results, in turn, suggest it is possible that the nature of the mental representations of an individual are particularly affected by the dialect spoken in their speech community.
- Simonet, M., & Simonet, M. (2019). Phonetic behavior in proficient bilinguals: Insights from the Catalan-Spanish contact situation. In Romance Phonetics and Phonology(pp 395-406). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198739401.001.0001More infoThis chapter discusses a selection of the literature on the phonetic behavior of proficient bilinguals. It examines both perception and production, and it focuses on what is known about a particular bilingual group, Catalan–Spanish bilinguals. This population has received a lot of attention because it allows for the exploration of bilingual individuals with different experience profiles who reside in a speech community where both languages enjoy similar social status and are thus likely to be used by any member of the community in any given day. Phonetic research on this bilingual population has been concerned mostly with addressing the following question: What is the role of the age of first exposure to an additional language in the manner in which a bilingual will represent and process this language? Research on this population has sparked a wealth of investigations on other populations in order to address this question from multiple perspectives.
- Simonet, M. (2016). The phonetics and phonology of bilingualism. In Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics (Online)(pp 1-23). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935345.013.72
- Simonet, M. (2012). The L2 acquisition of Spanish phonetics and phonology. In The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics(pp 729-746). Oxford, UK: Wiley/Blackwell.
- Hualde, J. I., Nadeu, M., & Simonet, M. (2011). Lenition and phonemic contrast in Majorcan Catalan. In Romance Linguistics 2009(pp 63-79). Amsterdam, Holland: John Benjamins.
- Simonet, M. (2011). Alveolar laterals in Majorcan Spanish: Effects of contact with Catalan?. In Romance Linguistics 2009(pp 81-94). Amsterdam, Holland: John Benjamins.
- Simonet, M. (2010). Rating accented speech on continua: Nativeness in speech production in highly proficient bilinguals.. In Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology 4(pp 37-46). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
- Simonet, M., Rohena-Madrazo, M., & Paz, M. (2008). Preliminary evidence of incomplete neutralization of coda liquids in Puerto Rican Spanish. In Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology 3(pp 72-86). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
- Simonet, M. (2007). Basic melodic contours in Majorcan Catalan: Shape and alignment of pitch movements in declaratives. In Romance Linguistics 2006(pp 283-297). Amsterdam, Holland: John Benjamins.
- Simonet, M. (2006). Word-boundary effects on pitch timing in Spanish. In Hispanic Linguistics 9(pp 103-112). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
- Simonet, M. (2005). Prosody and syllabification intuitions of [CiV] sequences in Spanish and Catalan. In Prosodies(pp 247-267). Berlin, Germany: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Ortín, R., & Simonet, M. (2023). Perceptual sensitivity to stress in native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language. Laboratory Phonology, 14, 7978. doi:https://doi.org/10.16995/labphon.7978More infoSecond language (L2) learners of Spanish whose first language (L1) is English tend to find Spanish lexical stress patterns difficult to acquire. This study investigates whether such difficulty derives, at least in part, from an obstacle encountered during perceptual processing: reduced perceptual sensitivity to stress distinctions. Participants were adult L1 English L2 Spanish learners of various proficiency levels. The experiment was a categorical matching task with triads of auditory stimuli minimally contrasting in stress (target) or segmental composition (baseline), an ABX task. The results show that learners were more accurate in the baseline condition than in the target condition, suggesting reduced perceptual sensitivity to stress relative to other contrasts. The reduction in accuracy, however, was restricted to trials in which matching items were not adjacent, further suggesting an obstacle with phonological processing in working memory rather than perceptual categorization. The default stress processing routines of L1 English L2 Spanish learners, optimized for their L1 (not their L2), may be responsible for the acquisitional obstacles with this feature of the Spanish language.
- Ortín, R., & Simonet, M. (2022). Phonological processing of stress by native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 44, 460-482. doi:10.1017/S0272263121000309More infoOne feature of Spanish that presents some difﬁculties to second language (L2) learners whose ﬁrst language (L1) is English concerns lexical stress. This study explores one aspect of the obstacle these learners face, weak phonological processing routines concerning stress inherited from their native language. Participants were L1 English L2 learners of Spanish. The experiment was a sequence-recall task with auditory stimuli minimally contrasting in stress (target) or segmental composition (baseline). The results suggest that learners are more likely to accurately recall sequences with stimuli contrasting in segmental composition than stress, suggesting reduced phonological processing of stress relative to a processing baseline. Furthermore, an increase in proﬁciency—assessed by means of grammatical and lexical tests—was found to be modestly associated with an increase in the accuracy of processing stress. We conclude that the processing routines of native English speakers lead to an acquisitional obstacle when learning Spanish as a L2.
- Osborne, D., & Simonet, M. (2021). Foreign-language phonetic development leads to first-language phonetic drift: Plosive consonants in native Portuguese speakers learning English as a foreign language in Brazil. Languages, 6030112. doi:10.3390/languages6030112More infoFifty-six Portuguese speakers born and raised in Brazil produced Portuguese words beginning in one of four plosives, /p b k ɡ/. Twenty-eight of them were monolinguals (controls), and the rest were learners of English as a foreign language (EFL). The learners were also asked to produce English words beginning with one of four plosives, /p b k ɡ/. We measured the plosives’ voice onset times (VOT) to address the following research questions: Do foreign-language learners, whose exposure to native English oral input is necessarily limited, form new sound categories specific to their additional language? Does engaging in the learning of a foreign language affect the phonetics of one’s native language? The EFL learners were found to differ from the controls in their production of Portuguese voiced (but not voiceless) plosives—prevoicing was longer in learner speech. The learners displayed different VOT targets for voiced (but not voiceless) consonants as a function of the language they were speaking—prevoicing was longer in Portuguese. In EFL learners’ productions, English sounds appear to be fundamentally modeled on phonologically similar native sounds, but some phonetic development (or reorganization) is found. Phonetic development induced by foreign-language learning may lead to a minor reconfiguration of the phonetics of native language sounds. EFL learners may find it challenging to learn the pronunciation patterns of English, likely due to the reduced access to native oral input.
- Amengual, M., & Simonet, M. (2020). Language dominance does not always predict cross-linguistic interactions in bilingual speech production. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 10, 847-872. doi:10.1075/lab.18042.ameMore infoThe present study describes the results of two experiments that analyze the effects of language dominance on Catalan/Spanish bilingual speech production. We examined the acoustics of the Catalan [a]~[ə] alternation (a phonological process induced by lexical stress) and of the Catalan mid vowel contrasts /e/-/ɛ/ and /o/-/ɔ/ (two phonemic contrasts) in the speech of Catalan- vs. Spanish-dominant early Catalan/Spanish bilinguals from Majorca (Spain). The results indicate that, contrary to the analysis of the Catalan mid vowels, stressed and unstressed Spanish and Catalan /a/ yielded no significant difference as a function of language dominance. These findings suggest that unstressed vowel reduction, a phonological process, may be relatively easier to acquire than phonemic contrasts with a low functional load (/e/-/ɛ/, /o/-/ɔ/), perhaps because its predictability and high frequency may attract attention and/or relieve cognitive resources, which could be conducive to phonological learning. These findings demonstrate that language dominance effects in the production of phonemic contrasts, widely researched in the literature on early bilingualism, do not guarantee the same effects on the implementation of phonological processes.
- López Velarde, M., & Simonet, M. (2020). The perception of postalveolar English obstruents by Spanish speakers learning English as a foreign language in Mexico. Languages, 5, 27. doi:10.3390/languages5020027More infoThe present study deals with the perception (identification and discrimination) of an English phonemic contrast (/t∫/–/∫/, as in cheat and sheet) by speakers of two Mexican varieties of Spanish who are learning English as a foreign language. Unlike English, Spanish does not contrast /t∫/ and /∫/ phonemically. Most Spanish varieties have [t∫], but not [∫]. In northwestern Mexico, [∫] and [t∫] find themselves in a situation of “free” variation—perhaps conditioned, to some extent, by social factors, but not in complementary distribution. In this variety, [∫] and [t∫] are variants of the same phoneme. The present study compares the perceptual behavior of English learners from northwestern Mexico, with that of learners from central Mexico, whose native dialect includes only [t∫]. The results of a word-categorization task show that both groups of learners find cheat and sheet difficult to identify in the context of each other, but that, relative to the other learner group, the group of learners in northwestern Mexico find this task to be particularly challenging. The results of a categorical discrimination task show that both learner groups find the members of the /t∫/–/∫/ contrast difficult to discriminate. On average, accuracy is lower for the group of learners in northwestern Mexico than it is for the central Mexicans. The findings suggest that the phonetic variants found in one’s native dialect modulate the perception of nonnative sounds and, consequently, that people who speak different regional varieties of the same language may face different obstacles when learning the sounds of their second language.
- Aldrich, A., & Simonet, M. (2019). Duration of syllable nuclei in Spanish. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 12, 247-280. doi:10.1515/shll-2019-2012More infoIn many languages, vowel duration is modulated by syllable structure—a phenomenon known as vowel compression—so that vowels are shorter in syllables with more segments than in syllables with fewer segments. Most instrumental evidence to date has reported an effect, in many languages, of the presence (and complexity) of a coda, and some studies have also documented effects of the presence (and complexity) of an onset. However, no prior studies on Spanish vowel duration have captured any effects of syllable structure. Using data from nine speakers and controlled speech materials, the present study addresses the following research question: Does syllable structure modulate vowel duration? The findings are as follows: (a) Relative to simplex onsets (those with a singleton consonant), complex onsets (those with a consonant cluster) trigger vowel compression; and (b) neither simplex nor complex codas consistently drive vowel compression—i.e., codas do not systematically affect vowel duration. Together with the facts for other languages, our findings support a view according to which syllable structure—in particular, onset complexity—modulates acoustic vowel duration. The study discusses the theoretical implications of this finding, which are argued to be in line with some of the principles of the Articulatory Phonology framework or, alternatively, suggest that codas should not be considered part of the articulatory syllable.
- Simonet, M., & Amengual, M. (2019). Increased language co-activation leads to enhanced cross-linguistic phonetic convergence. International Journal of Bilingualism, 24, 208-221. doi:10.1177/1367006919826388More infoPurpose: This study investigates the effects of bilingual language modes (or settings) on the speech production patterns of a group of early Catalan/Spanish bilinguals from Majorca, Spain. Our main research question was as follows: are bilingual speech patterns modulated by the level of (co-)activation of a bilingual?s two languages? Design:Bilingual participants were classified as a function of their linguistic experience (or dominance), from Catalan- to Spanish-dominant. Subsequently, we recorded their speech in two experimental settings: a unilingual setting in which only Catalan words were uttered, and a bilingual setting in which both Catalan and Spanish words (cognates) were produced in random order. Data and analysis: The study examined the acoustic realization of Spanish and Catalan unstressed /a/, which surfaces as [a] in Spanish but is reduced to schwa, [?], in Catalan. The acoustic characteristics of unstressed /a/ were explored across the two languages and the two experimental settings. Findings:Catalan unstressed /a/, which was similarly reduced to schwa in the speech of all participants, became slightly more similar to Spanish unstressed /a/ (i.e., it had a higher first formant) when produced alongside Spanish words (bilingual setting) than when produced in a Catalan unilingual setting. There were no effects of linguistic experience, and the effects of setting did not interact with experience. Originality: Very few studies have reported the effects of dynamic cross-linguistic interference in phonetic production, and even fewer have reported them with a phonetic variable resulting from a language-specific phonological process (unstressed vowel reduction) rather than a phonemic contrast. Implications: These findings suggest that cross-linguistic interaction is dynamic and modulated by language activation, and that an absence of dominance effects does not necessarily entail an absence of online cross-linguistic phonetic influence.
- Casillas, J. V., & Simonet, M. (2018). Perceptual categorization and bilingual language modes: Assessing the double phonemic boundary effect in early and late bilinguals. Journal of Phonetics, 71, 51-64. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2018.07.002More infoIn the present study, Spanish-English bilinguals’ perceptual boundaries between voiced and voiceless stops (a /b/-/p/ continuum including pre-voiced, voiceless unaspirated, and voiceless aspirated tokens) are shown to be modulated by whether participants are “led to believe” they are classifying Spanish or English sounds. In Experiment 1, simultaneous Spanish-English bilinguals and beginner second language learners of Spanish labeled the same acoustic continuum in two experimental sessions (Spanish mode, English mode), and both groups were found to display language-specific perceptual boundaries (or session effects). In Experiment 2, early bilinguals and late second language learners of various levels of proficiency participated in a single session in which, in random order, they labeled nonwords that were designed to prime either Spanish or English language modes. Early bilinguals and relatively proficient second language learners, but not less proficient learners, displayed mode-specific perceptual normalization criteria even in conditions of rapid, random mode switching. Along with similar ones, the experiments reported here demonstrate that bilinguals are able to exploit language-specific perceptual processes (or norms) when processing speech sounds, which entails some degree of separation between their sound systems.
- Llompart, M., & Simonet, M. (2018). Unstressed vowel reduction across Majorcan Catalan dialects: Production and spoken word recognition. Language & Speech, 61, 430-465. doi:10.1177/0023830917736019More infoThis study investigates the production and auditory lexical processing of words involved in a patterned phonological alternation in two dialects of Catalan spoken on the island of Majorca, Spain. One of these dialects, that of Palma, merges /ɔ/ and /o/ as [o] in unstressed position, and it maintains /u/ as an independent category, [u]. In the dialect of Sóller, a small village, speakers merge unstressed /ɔ/, /o/ and /u/ to [u]. First, a production study asks whether the discrete, rule-based descriptions of the vowel alternations provided in the dialectological literature are able to account adequately for these processes: Are mergers complete? Results show that mergers are complete with regards to the main acoustic cue to these vowel contrasts, that is, F1. However, minor differences are maintained for F2 and vowel duration. Second, a lexical decision task using cross-modal priming investigates the strength with which words produced in the phonetic form of the neighboring (vs. one’s own) dialect activate the listeners’ lexical representations during spoken word recognition: Are words within and across dialects accessed efficiently? The study finds that listeners from one of these dialects, Sóller, process their own and the neighboring forms equally efficiently, while listeners from the other one, Palma, process their own forms more efficiently than those of the neighboring dialect. This study has implications for our understanding of the role of lifelong linguistic experience on speech performance.
- Ramírez, M., & Simonet, M. (2018). Language dominance and the perception of the Majorcan Catalan /ʎ/-/ʒ/ contrast: Asymmetrical phonological representations. International Journal of Bilingualism, 22, 638-652. doi:10.1177/1367006916688334More infoPurpose: Bilinguals tend to experience “difficulties” with contrasts specific to their nondominant language. This study investigates the discrimination of the /ʎ/-/ʒ/ contrast of Majorcan Catalan by two groups of Catalan-Spanish bilinguals differing in their linguistic experience, Catalan- vs. Spanish-dominant. Methodology: Participants completed a categorical discrimination task to examine their perception of the following pairwise comparisons, relevant to assessing the perceptibility of the Majorcan Catalan /ʎ/-/ʒ/ contrast: [ʎ]-[ʒ], [ʎ]-[j], and [ʒ]-[j]. Data: Data consisted of arcsine-transformed proportion-correct responses obtained by means of a categorical discrimination task using the odd-item-out AXB paradigm. Findings: The results indicate that Spanish-dominant bilinguals are less accurate than Catalan-dominant ones in terms of their discrimination of the sounds involved in the /ʎ/-/ʒ/ contrast. Catalan-dominant participants discriminate any pairs involving [ʒ] very accurately. Interestingly, however, all participants find the [ʎ]-[j] pair difficult to discriminate. Originality: This study examines perception of a contrast not examined before, and its results suggest a surprising pattern of asymmetry in phonological representations of the target contrast. Significance: The results suggest that language dominance in the Catalan-Spanish contact community modulates discrimination of the /ʎ/-/ʒ/ contrast. The findings also suggest that Catalan-dominant listeners’ representation of /ʎ/ and /ʒ/ may be asymmetrical: The representation of /ʎ/ may be fuzzier than that of /ʒ/.
- Nadeu, M., Simonet, M., & Llompart, M. (2017). Stressed postverbal pronominals in Catalan. Probus: International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguistics, 29, 119-162. doi:10.1515/probus-2016-0016More infoMajorcan Catalan postverbal pronominal elements are typically described as being prominent due to stress shift from their host. This study sheds light on the prosodic phonology of these pronouns through the analysis of duration, vowel quality, and f0 in verb+pronominal sequences, which are compared to a baseline condition without pronominals and to the same sequences in a Catalan variety without stress shift. Our results show acoustic differences in the realization of pronominals in these varieties. The duration and vowel quality patterns are consistent with the stress shift account of postverbal pronominals in Majorcan Catalan. Analysis of f0 contours also reveals phonological differences across varieties. Whereas stressed postverbal pronominals are not rare in Romance, Majorcan Catalan is one of a much reduced number of varieties within the Romance domain, where the attachment of a pronominal element to a host triggers “true” stress shift rather than an additional prominence on the pronominal element, like Sardinian or Neapolitan.
- Casillas, J. V., & Simonet, M. (2016). Production and perception of the English /æ/-/ɑ/ contrast by switched-dominance speakers. Second Language Research, 32, 171-195. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2018.07.002More infoThis study investigates how fluent second-language (L2) learners of English produce and perceive the /æ/–/ɑ/ vowel contrast of Southwestern American English. Two learner groups are examined: (1) early, proficient English speakers who were raised by Spanish-speaking families but who became dominant in English during childhood and, as adults, lack communicative abilities in Spanish, and (2) Spanish-speaking late learners of English who continue to be dominant in Spanish. The participants provided data in three tasks: one production and two perceptual. The study finds that both learner groups differ from native controls in their production and perception of the /æ/–/ɑ/ contrast. The findings shed light on our understanding of the relative effects of age (at onset of language exposure) and language dominance (at time of testing) by showing that sequential bilingualism impacts phonetic behavior even when speakers have become dominant in the target language.
- Cobb, K., & Simonet, M. (2015). Adult second language learning of Spanish vowels. Hispania: Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, 98, 47-60. doi:10.1353/hpn.2015.0026More infoThe present study reports on the findings of a cross-sectional acoustic study of the production of Spanish vowels by three different groups of speakers: 1) native Spanish speakers; 2) native English intermediate learners of Spanish; and 3) native English advanced learners of Spanish. In particular, we examined the production of the five Spanish phonemic monophthongs (/i e a o u/) in two prosodic positions: stressed and unstressed. Since Spanish and English vary in the nature of the difference between stressed and unstressed vowels, a logical question is: How does the relationship between stressed and unstressed vowels differ across the three groups of participants? Do the learners transfer English patterns to their Spanish? The findings are discussed in terms of their significance for current models of second language speech learning and provide important information regarding the paths of pronunciation development in the second language acquisition of Spanish.
- Díaz, M., & Simonet, M. (2015). Second language acquisition of Spanish /e/ and /ei/ by native English speakers. Hispania: Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, 98, 750-761. doi:10.1353/hpn.2015.0138More infoThe present article reports on the findings of a cross-sectional acoustic study of the production of the Spanish /e/-/ei/ contrast, as in pena-peina and reno-reino, by native-English intermediate and advanced learners of Spanish. The acoustic parameter that distinguishes Spanish /e/ from /ei/ is formant change—/e/ is a monophthong and /ei/ is a diphthong. English, on the other hand, has a mid front monophthong /ɛ/ (bet, debt) and a mid-to-high front diphthong /eɪ/ (bait, date). These vowels differ in both their overall place of articulation and in their dynamic characteristics. Spanish /e/ is similar to both English /ɛ/ and /eɪ/ but is not identical to any of the two vowels; Spanish /ei/ is similar, but also not identical, to English /eɪ/. This situation creates complex inter-lingual interactions for the learners. The study addresses these interactions as they are evidenced in speech production. The findings are discussed in terms of their significance for current models of second language speech learning and provide important information regarding the paths of pronunciation development in the second-language acquisition of Spanish vowels by adult native speakers of American English.
- Simonet, M. (2015). An acoustic study of coarticulatory resistance in 'dark' and 'light' alveolar laterals. Journal of Phonetics, 52, 138-151. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2015.07.006More infoThis study reports on the results of an acoustic investigation on the effects of contextual vowels on alveolar laterals in two languages, Spanish and Catalan. In particular, two contact varieties of these languages, those spoken on the island of Majorca, are compared. Catalan /l/ has been described as “dark” and Spanish /l/ as “light” or “clear,” and these characterizations have been confirmed with acoustic and articulatory data. Furthermore, it has been suggested that pharyngealization (or velarization) degree in the laterals affects their degree of coarticulatory resistance, with pharyngealized laterals being more resistant to coarticulation than non-pharyngealized ones. This is attributed to tighter articulatory control of the tongue body in pharyngealized than non-pharyngealized laterals. This study tests this hypothesis with acoustic data from 10 (Majorcan) Catalan and 10 (Majorcan) Spanish male speakers, and it shows that coarticulatory resistance is indeed modulated by the degree of pharyngealization of the laterals. Importantly, in addition to finding a difference in coarticulatory resistance between the two language varieties, the study finds that by-speaker average pharyngealization in the laterals is a significant linear predictor of by-speaker coarticulatory resistance in these sounds
- Colina, S., & Simonet, M. (2014). Galician coda restrictions and plural clusters. Linguistics, 52, 1433-1460.More infoThe present study investigates the phonology and phonetics of Galician post-vocalic velar nasals. Galician has very strict coda restrictions – it does not allow for complex codas. One exception to this restriction is found in the plurals of words ending in a nasal consonant, which add /s/ to the “right” of a noun or adjective: man ‘hand’, mans ‘hands’; pan ‘bread’, pans ‘breads’. The present study puts forward a proposal, initially based on synchronic, formal phonological grounds, according to which post-vocalic, pre-/s/ nasals in plural forms are not nasal stops, but nasal glides. Their nature as nasal glides allows for their syllabification in the nucleus rather than in the coda, thus preserving (i.e., not violating) the restriction on complex codas. This proposal is then tested with a production experiment based on quantitative acoustic data. The acoustic study reveals indeed a difference in the degree of weakening of post-vocalic nasals, with pre-/s/ nasals in the plural forms showing a significantly higher degree of weakening than pre-/s/ nasals in the singular forms. The article concludes with an Optimality-Theoretic analysis of the phonological facts.
- Simonet, M. (2014). Phonetic consequences of dynamic cross-linguistic interference in proficient bilinguals. Journal of Phonetics, 43, 26-37. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.01.004More infoThis study investigates the production and perception of a Catalan-specific vowel contrast by a group of highly proficient, early-onset Catalan-Spanish bilinguals. Spanish has a mid-back vowel (/o/), while Catalan has two (/o/, /o/). Most importantly, the study manipulates the amount of activation of the Spanish lexicon in two experimental sessions to examine the transient aspects of cross-linguistic phonetic interference. In the first (unilingual) session speakers produce words in one of their languages only, Catalan. In the second (bilingual) session bilinguals produce words in both of their languages, in random order. The acoustic analysis consists of comparing the height of Catalan [o] and [o] in the two sessions, as well as verifying whether bilinguals possess separate categories for these two vowels in the first place. The results show that the presence (vs. absence) of Spanish words in the task affects the realization of the two Catalan mid-back vowels by bilinguals. In particular, the two Catalan vowels become slightly more similar to Spanish [o] when they are pronounced alongside this vowel. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
- Carrasco, P., Hualde, J. I., & Simonet, M. (2012). Dialectal differences in Spanish voiced obstruent allophony: Costa Rican versus Iberian Spanish. Phonetica, 69, 149-179.More infoThe Spanish voiced obstruents /b d g/ are traditionally described as having each two allophones: stop and fricative (approximant) in complementary distribution. Several researchers have noted that some Central American and Highland Colombian varieties deviate from the general allophonic distribution in showing a preference for stop realizations in all contexts, except for the intervocalic position. In this paper we report on a large-scale acoustic investigation of /b d g/ in postconsonantal (after a liquid, sibilant or glide) and postvocalic (after /a/) contexts in Costa Rica Spanish, establishing a comparison with the variety of Madrid, Spain, which we take as representative of a variety with the general pattern of allophony. Our study, based on a continuous measurement of intensity, confirms previous descriptions in that Costa Rica Spanish does indeed show a different pattern of allophony from that found in the Madrid variety. The analysis shows that in Costa Rica Spanish postconsonantal realizations of /b/ and /d/ are very different from postvocalic ones, with a clear separation in the degree of constriction between these two contexts. In Madrid, on the other hand, we find a continuum of constriction degrees, depending on the nature of the specific preceding segment, and without a clear separation between postvocalic and postconsonantal realizations. The question that naturally arises is that of the historical connection between these two patterns of allophony, for which we offer some speculation, based in historical parallels and comparison with other varieties.
- Hualde, J. I., Simonet, M., & Nadeu, M. (2011). Consonant lenition and phonological recategorization. Laboratory Phonology, 2, 275-300. doi:https://doi.org/10.1515/labphon.2011.011More infoWe examine the weakening of intervocalic voiceless stops in Spanish in order to gain insight on historical processes of intervocalic lenition. In our corpus, about a third of all tokens of intervocalic /ptk/ are fully or partially voiced in spontaneous speech. However, even when fully voiced, /ptk/ tend to show greater constriction than /bdg/, with the velars being less different than labials and coronals. Word-initial and word-internal intervocalic segments are equally affected. Based on our findings from acoustic measurements of correlates of lenition, we propose that common reductive sound changes, such as intervocalic consonant lenition, start as across-the-board conventionalized phonetic processes equally affecting all targets in the appropriate phonetic context. The common restriction of the sound change to word-internal contexts may be a consequence of phonological recategorization at a later stage in the sound change.
- Simonet, M. (2011). Intonational convergence in language contact: Utterance-final F0 contours in Catalan-Spanish early bilinguals. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41, 157-184. doi:10.1017/S0025100311000120More infoThis study investigates utterance-final pitch accents in declaratives in two contact languages (Catalan and Spanish) as produced by two groups of Catalan-Spanish bilinguals (Catalan-dominant and Spanish-dominant). It contributes to a growing body of research showing that bilinguals transfer the intonational patterns of their native language to their non-native language, and it provides a sociolinguistic profile of an intonational variable in a language contact situation. We also examine the interaction of native and non-native patterns within the performance of the bilinguals. Evidence is presented for the existence of a process of phonetic category assimilation of non-native pitch contrasts to native pitch contours, as well as for phonetic new-category formation in second language learning.
- Simonet, M. (2011). Production of a Catalan-specific vowel contrast by early Spanish-Catalan bilinguals. Phonetica, 68, 88-110. doi:10.1159/000328847More infoThe present study investigates the acoustics (F1 x F2) of Catalan and Spanish mid-back vowels as produced by highly proficient, early Spanish-Catalan bilinguals residing on the island of Majorca, a bilingual speech community. Majorcan Catalan has two phonemic mid-back vowels in stressed positions (/o/ and /c/) while Spanish possesses only one (/o/). Two groups of bilinguals were recruited and asked to produce materials in both languages - one group of Spanish-dominant and one of Catalan-dominant speakers. It was first found that Catalan and Spanish /o/ are virtually indistinguishable. Catalan /o/ is lower and more fronted than the other two vowels. Spanish-dominant bilinguals were found to differ from Catalan-dominant ones in that they did not produce the Catalan-specific /o/-/o/ contrast in their speech; that is, they produced a single, merged Catalan mid-back vowel. A within-subjects analysis of first-and second-language mid-back vowels further suggested, for Spanish-dominant bilinguals, that they had developed a separate vowel category to accommodate their single, merged Catalan mid-back vowel; that is, they possessed a two-category mid-back vowel system, i.e. one for their Spanish /o/ and one for their merged Catalan /o/ + /c/. Potential explanations and theoretical implications are discussed. Copyright (C) 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel
- Simonet, M. (2011). Technology in phonetic science: Setting up a basic phonetics laboratory. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 4, 557-576.
- Simonet, M. (2010). Dark and clear laterals in Catalan and Spanish: Interaction of phonetic categories in early bilinguals. Journal of Phonetics, 38, 664-679. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2010.10.002More infoThe present study reports on an acoustic analysis of alveolar laterals in two contact languages (Catalan and Spanish) as produced by two groups of Catalan–Spanish bilinguals (Catalan-dominant and Spanish-dominant) residing on Majorca. Catalan alveolar laterals have been reported to be “darker” (i.e. velarized) than Spanish ones. Recent sociophonetic research has suggested that Catalan and Spanish are gradually converging in this phonetic feature due to intensive contact and that laterals are sociolinguistically salient in Majorca. This paper examines the potential interactions between the social-indexical role of laterals in Majorca and the abilities of bilinguals to maintain two separate acoustic distributions for laterals in their two languages. First, it is shown that bilinguals tend to transfer the phonetic features of the sound categories of their native language to their non-native one even after having had early and extensive exposure to native input in their non-dominant language. Second, it is shown that while most bilinguals maintain two separate acoustic distributions for the laterals in their two languages, some participants do not. Social-indexical and cognitive factors that could explain this finding are discussed.
- Simonet, M. (2009). Nuclear pitch accents in Majorcan Catalan declaratives: Phonetics, phonology, diachrony. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 2, 77-115.More infoThe present paper reports on the findings of an acoustic study of nuclear pitch accents in Majorcan Catalan. A total of 10 speakers participated in a production experiment. Nuclear pitch accents were investigated by measuring relative pitch changes between several sequential temporal landmarks in and around nuclear stressed syllables in read-aloud declaratives. The results provide evidence for the presence of a low (L) tone associated with the nuclear stressed syllable for 9 of the 10 participants, and that of a high (H) trailing tone for only 4 of the participants. The implications of these results for a phonological analysis of Majorcan Catalan nuclear pitch accents, as well as the diachrony of nuclear pitch accents in Iberian Romance, are discussed.
- Hualde, J. I., Simonet, M., & Torreira, F. (2008). Postlexical contraction of nonhigh vowels in Spanish. Lingua, 118, 1906-1925. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2007.10.004More infoAlthough at the lexical level (in the citation form of words) Spanish has only high glides, mid vowels may also become nonsyllabic by a postlexical process of syllable contraction. In this paper we report on an experiment designed to study the contraction of sequences of nonhigh vowels in Castilian Spanish. Traditional phonological descriptions of this Spanish dialect state that in sequences of equal height such as /eo/, /oe/, the first of the two vowels undergoes greater shortening, becoming nonsyllabic. In sequences of different height, such as /ae/, /ea/, on the other hand, the higher of the two vowels becomes nonsyllabic. Our results offer only partial support for these hypotheses. In agreement with other recent studies, we find the realization of these sequences to be very variable. In particular, we discuss two seemingly opposite tendencies present in our data and elsewhere for the elimination of mid glides. One is their deletion: /ea/ -> [ea] -> [a]. The other one is their raising to high glides: /ea/ -> [ea] -> [ja].
- Casillas, J. V., Díaz, Y., & Simonet, M. (2015, Summer). Acoustics of Spanish and English coronal stops.. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences.
- Llompart, M., & Simonet, M. (2015, Summer). Differential positional neutralization of back vowels in two Majorcan Catalan sub-dialects. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Díaz, Y. (2014, Summer). The effects of stress/accent on VOT depend on language (English, Spanish), consonant (/d/, /t/) and linguistic experience (monolinguals, bilinguals). In Speech Prosody 7, 202-206.
- Torreira, F., Simonet, M., & Hualde, J. I. (2014, Summer). Quasi-neutralization of stress contrasts in Spanish. In Speech Prosody 7, 197-201.
- Simonet, M., Hualde, J. I., & Nadeu, M. (2012, Fall). Lenition of /d/ in spontaneous Spanish and Catalan. In 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, 1414-1417.More infoThe present study explores the acoustics of /d/ in two corpora of Spanish and Catalan spontaneous speech. Three acoustic metrics were developed as indexes of articulatory weakening. The findings suggest that variations in the implementation of /d/ result from gradient modulations in constriction degree on a unimodal statistical-acoustic distribution. The preceding segment is a strong predictor of the weakening of Catalan and Spanish /d/.
- López Velarde, M., & Simonet, M. (2019, July). Sociophonetic variation in the L1 affects L2 phonological development. International Symposium on Bilingualism 12. Edmonton, Alberta: University of Alberta.
- López Velarde, M., & Simonet, M. (2019, October). Phonetic variation and second language phonological development. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. El Paso, Texas: University of Texas at El Paso.
- Simonet, M., & Casillas, J. (2019, July). Perceptual normalization in bilinguals and second language learners. Coloquio del Laboratorio de Adquisición del Lenguaje. Valladolid, Spain: Universidad de Valladolid, Department of English Studies.
- Simonet, M., & Ortín, R. (2019, November). The problem with stress, lexical stress. Linguistics Colloquium. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, Department of Linguistics.
- López, M., & Simonet, M. (2018, Fall). Spoken word recognition in the context of "free" allophonic variation. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Austin, Texas: University of Texas at Austin.
- López, M., & Simonet, M. (2018, November). Spoken word recognition and norteño Mexican Spanish: A preliminary investigation into the effects of shesheo on auditory lexical access. Encuentro Internacional de Lingüística en el Noroeste. Hermosillo, Sonora (Mexico): Universidad de Sonora.
- Ortín, R., & Simonet, M. (2018, Fall). Phonological encoding of lexical stress by second-language learners of Spanish. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Austin, Texas: University of Texas at Austin.
- Ortín, R., & Simonet, M. (2018, November). The processing of Spanish stress: A second language study. Encuentro Internacional de Lingüística en el Noroeste. Hermosillo, Sonora (Mexico): Universidad de Sonora.
- Simonet, M. (2018, September). Reducció vocàlica en el lèxic bilingüe i bidialectal: quatre estudis mallorquins. Katalanistentag 2018. University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany: German Society of Catalan Studies.More infoInvited keynote at the Colloquium of the German Society of Catalan Studies. The presentation was 100% my responsibility, but the work presented in it came from various projects, two of which were co-authored: one with Mark Amengual (UC Santa Cruz) and one with Miquel Llompart (University of Munich, Germany). I was the invited speaker.
- Amengual, M., & Simonet, M. (2017, April). Second Language Speakers of Catalan Find its Unstressed Vowel Reduction Rule Easy. Why?. Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages. University of Delaware: Department of Linguistics.
- Ramírez, M., & Simonet, M. (2017, April). The phonologization of velar palatalization: Majorcan Catalan. Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages. University of Delaware: Department of Linguistics.
- Simonet, M. (2017, Fall). Unstressed vowel reduction in Majorca. Linguistics Colloquium. Department of Linguistics. University of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas, Department of Linguistics.
- Simonet, M. (2017, Fall). Unstressed vowel reduction in the bilingual and bidialectal lexicon: The phonetics of a phonological process. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University.More infoPLENARY - KEYNOTE
- Tucker, B., Hoffmann, M., Park, S., Brenner, D., Warner, N., & Simonet, M. (2017, June). Processing reduced speech in a second language.. Conversational Speech and Lexical Representations. Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
- Warner, N., Simonet, M., Brenner, D., Park, S., Hoffmann, M., & Tucker, B. V. (2017, June). Comparison of careful vs. conversational speech in Dutch, English, and L2 English. Conversational Speech and Lexical Representations. Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Osborne, D. (2016, April). Second Language Acquisition and the Double Perceptual Boundary Effect. Sound to Word in Bilingual and Second Language Speech Perception, University of Iowa. University of Iowa.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Osborne, D. (2016, July). Second Language Acquisition and the Double Perceptual Boundary Effect. Colloquium of the Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. Munich, Germany: Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Osborne, D. (2016, October). Second Language Acquisition and the Double Perceptual Boundary Effect. Colloquium of the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Program. University of Arizona: Second Language Acquisition and Teaching GIDP.
- Casillas, J. V., Díaz, Y., & Simonet, M. (2015, Fall). Acoustics of coronal stops in Spanish-English bilingual speech. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Llompart, M., & Simonet, M. (2015, Spring). Experience and the processing of forms in alternating paradigms. Berkeley Linguistic Society. Berkeley, California: University of California at Berkeley.
- Ramírez-Martínez, M., & Simonet, M. (2015, Fall). The merger of the Catalan /ʎ/-/ʒ/ contrast: Sound change and automatic imitation. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Llompart, M., & Simonet, M. (2014, Fall). Experience shapes phonological processing: Evidence from Majorcan Catalan. Arizona Linguistics Circle. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona.
- Simonet, M. (2014, Spring). New directions in research on bilingual phonetics: The impact of language activation. Middlebury Symposium on Bilingualism (KEYNOTE ADDRESS). Middlebury, Vermont: Middlebury College.
- Simonet, M., Simonet, M., Warner, N., Warner, N., Tucker, B. V., Tucker, B. V., Brenner, D., Brenner, D., Hoffman, M., Hoffman, M., Baltazar, A., Baltazar, A., Morales, A., Morales, A., Díaz, Y., Díaz, Y., González, A., & González, A. (2014, Fall). Production of stops in connected, spontaneous second-language speech. Second Language Research Forum. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina.
- Simonet, M., & Llompart, M. (2015, Summer). Differential positional neutralization of back vowels in two Majorcan Catalan sub-dialects. 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, Scotland: International Phonetic Association.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Díaz, Y. (2015, Summer). Acoustics of Spanish and English coronal stops. 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, Scotland: International Phonetic Association.
- Llompart, M., & Simonet, M. (2014, Fall). Positional neutralization of back vowels in two Majorcan Catalan dialects. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. West Lafayette Indiana: Purdue University.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Díaz, Y. (2014, Fall). A contrastive acoustic analysis of dental and alveolar stops in Spanish and English. Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University.
- Simonet, M., Casillas, J. V., & Díaz, Y. (2014, Summer). The effects of stress-accent on VOT depend on language (English, Spanish), consonant (/d/, /t/) and linguistic experience (monolinguals, bilinguals). Speech Prosody 7. Dublin, Ireland: International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) and Trinity College Dublin.
- Torreira, F., Simonet, M., & Hualde, J. I. (2014, Summer). Quasi-neutralization of stress contrasts in Spanish. Speech Prosody 7. Dublin, Ireland: International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) and Trinity College Dublin.
- Warner, N., Simonet, M., Tuckeer, B. V., Brenner, D., Hoffmann, M., Baltazar, A., Morales, A., & Diaz, Y. (2014, May). Spontaneous speech variability across languages: Labial and velar stops. Acoustical Society of America Meeting. Providence, RI: NSF.More info"Spontaneous speech variability across languages: Labial and velar stops." Natasha Warner, Miquel Simonet, Benjamin V. Tucker, Dan Brenner, Maureen Hoffmann, Alejandra Baltazar, Andrea Morales, and Yamile Diaz. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America meeting, Providence, RI, May 2014.
- Warner, N., Simonet, M., Tucker, B. V., Brenner, D., Hoffmann, M., Baltazar, A., Morales, A., & Diaz, Y. (2014, May). "Spontaneous speech variability across languages: Labial and velar stops". Acoustical Society of America Meeting. Providence, RI: NSF.More info"Spontaneous speech variability across languages: Labial and velar stops." Natasha Warner, Miquel Simonet, Benjamin V. Tucker, Dan Brenner, Maureen Hoffmann, Alejandra Baltazar, Andrea Morales, and Yamile Diaz. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America meeting, Providence, RI, May 2014.
- Warner, N. -., Simonet, M. -., Brenner, D., Hoffmann, M., Morales, A., & Molina, A. B. (2013, December). Range of variability in native and non-native spontaneous speech intervocalic stops. Acoustical Society of America Meeting. San Francisco.More info2 co-authors are undergraduate research assistants, and this was their first conference presentation. I am unsure of the published author order.
- Warner, N. -., Simonet, M. -., Brenner, D., Hoffmann, M., Morales, A., & Molina, A. B. (2013, December). Range of variability in native and non-native spontaneous speech intervocalic stops. UA/ASU CogSci Conclave. Tucson.More info2 Co-authors are undergraduate students.
- Simonet, M. (2014. "The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages, vol 1, Structures", a review(pp 418-421). Oxford, UK.
- Darcy, I., Tremblay, A., & Simonet, M. (2017, Spring). Editorial: Phonology in the Bilingual and Bidialectal Lexicon. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00507/full