4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Cross-language Speech Perception: Swedish, English, and Spanish Speakers' Perception of Front Rounded Vowels

Raquel Willerman, Patricia K. Kuhl

Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Cross-language research on adult speech perception demonstrates a strong effect of linguistic experience on consonant perception but not on vowel perception. Our paper re-examines the effect of linguistic experience on adultsí vowel perception. First, identification and goodness functions for the high front quadrant of the vowel space were mapped for speakers of Swedish, English, and Spanish. Second, speakers performed a discrimination task for one vector in this vowel space. Stimuli along this vector were identified by Swedish speakers as belonging to the Swedish front rounded vowel series /Á:/ - /Ų:/. However, English and Spanish speakers reported that the stimuli were not in their language. Significant differences in discriminability of these stimuli were observed across speakers of different languages. Our results show that linguistic experience plays a significant role in vowel discrimination.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Willerman, Raquel / Kuhl, Patricia K. (1996): "Cross-language speech perception: Swedish, English, and Spanish speakers' perception of front rounded vowels", In ICSLP-1996, 442-445.