Error Analysis: Activity 3

HAY and AIRE: Henry’s pronunciation of the [aɪ̯] diphthong

The table below contains Henry’s production (in the Jigsaw and Comparison tasks) of the words “hay” and “aire” which are obligatory contexts for the diphthong [aɪ̯] in Spanish. You can listen to his pronunciation by clicking on the highlighted words.  Look at and listen to the examples, and then answer the questions below the table.


Learner: Henry
Task Line #  
Comparison 47 Hay, uh, hay, um, no s-, la problemas 
Comparison 58
R: Y el sí tiene aire acondicionado
H: Err condicionado, sí, para cada cuerto en la, la casa, y parec- es posible que en la casa
aquí es uh...aire...condicionado para todo la casa
R: central? Aire…
H: cent-  R: ...central.
H: Are, are central, sí
Jigsaw 27 ...hay un, hay un árbol…
  33 ...hay unas, hay unas arbóles que no...
  38 Sí, hay mucho sol…
  43 Hay un uh no sé...
  69 A la derecha, uh sí, hay un árbol en la derecha
  75 hay números...
  89-91 ...hay montanas...Hay montañas en...
  95 ...condicionar el- la ere… 

How would you describe a problem Henry is having in pronouncing the Spanish sound [aɪ̯] in the words “hay” and “aire”?  Why do you think he is having this problem? Please type your answer in the box below.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

Henry clearly knows how to produce the diphthong [aɪ̯]. For one thing, it is a sound that occurs in English words like “eye” and “hi”. For another thing, he produces the sound consistently in the word “hay”. However, he has a lot of trouble with the sound in the word “aire.”  
Why? Perhaps because the English equivalent word “air” has a similar spelling but a different vowel, the diphthong [ɛɚ] as in “bare” or “there”. The spelling encourages him to transfer the English vowel, but he also seems to know that’s not correct. He doesn’t always use the English vowel; instead, his production of the diphthong in “aire” is variable. For example in line 64 he produces ‘aire’ with [ɑ] as in “father”. 


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