Within a variationist approach for data collection and analysis, this study investigates the acquisition in perception of post-vocalic word-final stops (codas) by speakers of Brazilian Portuguese learning English as a foreign language in a classroom environment. Because codas are illicit in this variety of Portuguese, the hypothesis holds that learners will process this foreign structure as followed by an illusory epenthetic vowel, [i], a manifestation of ‘perceptual foreign accent’. In a forced- choice phone identification task, 51 participants listened to series of English pseudowords and then decided on whether each word ended in a consonant or in a vowel. The statistical results of the experiment indicate that codas are more likely to be perceived in the following cases: (1) in more advanced levels of proficiency, (2) in the context of segments that belong to the class of coronals [t d] and labials [p b], and (3) when the coda consonant is preceded by a lax vowel. The latter as well as the non-significant word size factor contradict the results established in the investigation of the production of this syllabic constituent. To some extent, the results obtained show a correlation between speech perception and production, and support the view that perception precedes production in the development of second language codas.
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