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SD_ASA_04_Harnsberger - Optimizing measures of the...

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Optimizing measures of the perceptual assimilation of stop consonants James D. Harnsberger, Ph.D (Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida) Sang-hee Yeon, Ph.D. (Program in Linguistics, University of Florida) Jenna Silver (Program in Linguistics, University of Florida) E-mail: [email protected] 3aSC5 INTRODUCTION Cross-language speech (phonetic) perception concerns the perception of speech stimuli that are unfamiliar to the listener because they occur outside of his/her ambient language environment. Understanding how cross-language speech perception actually works is of interest for: General models of perceptual category structure (e.g., how novel speech information is stored in long-term memory) Models of perceptual learning, particularly second language learning Early cross-language experiments focused on a small set of speech sounds that were widely thought to be difficult for certain language groups. Performance on these tasks was typically poor, and discrimination and identification corresponded (Figure 1). Figure 1 . A typical identification function plotting the change in percent identification for one phoneme of a contrast, shown with a corresponding discrimination function plotting percent correct for individual pairs of stimuli from the identification task. Pair 5-7 straddles the transition from one phoneme to another. Later studies used similar methods and found a much larger range in performance when examining a variety of non-native speech sounds and listener groups. Theoretical models have been proposed to describe and/or predict the discrimination and identification (or “perceptual assimilation”) of non-native contrasts: Speech Learning Model (SLM) Native Language Magnet Model (NLM) Perceptual Assimilation Model (PAM) Attempts to test some of these models’ predictions have had limited success: Lotto, Kluender, and Holt, 1998; Guenther, 2000; and Lotto,
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