VAN_ASA_05_Harnsberger - The role of psychophysical...

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The role of psychophysical difference in the discrimination of non-native contrasts James D. Harnsberger, Ph.D (Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida) Rahul Shrivastav, Ph.D. (Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida) Mark Skowronski (Department of Electrical and Engineering, University of Florida) E-mail: [email protected] 2pSC17 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. Cross-language speech perception is intriguing because it often exemplifies the dominance of prior linguistic experience over the sensitivity of our peripheral auditory system. Source of “foreign accent” in perception and production. 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. Traditional account of difficulties in perceiving non-native speech sounds: Listeners can only perceive and learn speech sounds that are identified with separate phonemes in their language. Example: Easy: Hindi /  / - /  / for English listeners (/t/ - /d/). Hard: Hindi /  / - /  / for English listeners (/t/ - /t/). Traditional account assumes: All non-native sounds that are identified with the same native phoneme are equally difficult to discriminate. Studies in the 1990s demonstrated that many contrasts vary in their discriminability despite their identification with a single native phoneme (e.g. single-category assimilations). Examples from Harnsberger (2001):
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This note was uploaded on 10/22/2011 for the course LIN 4930 taught by Professor Habib,r during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.

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