Pisoni_Training_I_1991

Pisoni_Training_I_1991 - Training Japaneselistenersto...

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Training Japanese listeners to identify English/r/and/1/: A first report John S. Logan, Scott E. Lively, and David B. Pisoni Speech Research Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Indiana Unioersity, Bloomington, Indiana 47405 (Received 18 December 1989; accepted for publication 6 September 1990) Native speakers of Japanese learning English generally have difficulty differentiating the phoneroes/r/and/I/, even after years of experience with English. Previous research that attempted to train Japanese listeners to distinguish this contrast using synthetic stimuli reported little success, especially when transfer to natural tokens containing/r/and/1/was tested. In the present study, a different training procedure that emphasized variability among stimulus tokens was used. Japanese subjects were trained in a minimal pair identification paradigm using multiple natural exemplars contrasting/r/and/I/from a variety of phonetic environments as stimuli. A pretest-posttest design containing natural tokens was used to assess the effects of training. Results from six subjects showed that the new procedure was more robust than earlier training techniques. Small but reliable differences in performance were obtained between pretest and posttest scores. The results demonstrate the importance of stimulus variability and task-related factors in training nonnative speakers to perceive novel phonetic contrasts that are not distinctive in their native language. PACS numbers: 43.71.Gv, 43.71.Es, 43.71.An INTRODUCTION When listeners are presented with speech stimuli from phonetic categories that are not used in their own language they typically show performance that is not as good as a native speaker of the language from which the phoneroes were selected (e.g., Miyawaki et al., 1975; Werker and Lo- gan, 1985). This phenomenon has both practical and theo- retical implications. In a practical sense, this means that an individual learning a second language may experience diffi- culty distinguishing certain phonetic contrasts in the second language. From a theoretical viewpoint, the phenomenon also poses several interesting questions: How did these lan- guage-specific linguistic categories arise? How flexible is the adult perceptual system with regard to novel phonetic cate- gories? What conditions facilitate the development of novel phonetic categories in adults? The work described in the present paper focuses on several of these theoretical issues in the context of training Japanese listeners to identify the Eng- lish phoneroes/r/and/1/. In particular, we examine several of the theoretical assumptions underlying previous efforts to train listeners to distinguish nonnative phonetic contrasts and consider some of the issues raised by this earlier work (see also Pisoni et al., 1991 ). A developmental
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Pisoni_Training_I_1991 - Training Japaneselistenersto...

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