Phonological Memory in Spanish as a Foreign Language: A Relational Study

Keywords: phonological working memory, Spanish as a foreign language, language proficiency


In this research a relational study was conducted to examine the link between phonological working memory (PWM) and specific aspects of linguistic proficiency in adult speakers of Spanish as a foreign language (SFL). PWM was measured with a nonword repetition test based on the Chilean variant of Spanish. Proficiency levels were determined with a test that evaluated six specific aspects of language use from the Program of Spanish as a Foreign Language from Universidad de Concepción (ELE-UdeC). A statistically significant correlation was found between aspects of proficiency and measures of PWM in the group of the longest and final-stress-patterned stimuli. A significant linear association was also observed when the aspect of similarity to real language words was added to the analysis; all aspects of proficiency, except for reading comprehension, correlated statistically with the performance of PWM in the group of the longest, final-stress-patterned and low similarity to real words stimuli. These findings provide new evidence supporting the relationship between PWM and SFL performance, in line with some of the findings recently published for other languages.

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Author Biographies

René Oportus Torres, Universidad de Concepción

Ph.D in Linguistics, M.A in Applied Linguistics, University of Concepción, Chile. Professor in Español ELE-UdeC program, University of Concepción, Chile.

Anita Ferreira Cabrera, University of Concepción

Ph.D. in Computer Science in Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh. Ph.D. in Linguistics, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso. Main professor in the Spanish Department in the Humanities and Arts Faculty, University of Concepción, Chile.

Katia Sáez Carrillo, University of Concepción

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. M.A in Statistics, University of Concepción. Main professor in the Statistics Department in Physical Sciences and Mathematics Faculty, University of Concepción, Chile.


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How to Cite
Oportus Torres R., Ferreira Cabrera A., & Sáez Carrillo K. (2016). Phonological Memory in Spanish as a Foreign Language: A Relational Study. Íkala, 21(2), 153-168.
Empirical Studies