4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Perception of English /r/ and /l/ Speech Contrasts by Native Korean Listeners with Extensive English-language Experience

D. G. Jamieson, K. Yu

Hearing Health Care Research Unit, The University of Westem Ontario, London, ON, Canada

Native speakers of one language often have difficulty perceiving and producing the sounds of other languages correctly. For example, native speakers of Korean often have difficulty perceiving the English/r/-/l/ sounds [3,12,17]. While English has two separate labels for the sounds we call hi and /I/, the Korean language groups these sounds into a single category [3]. In Korean, the sound heard by English-speaking listeners as hi occurs only intervocalically; that heard as /!/ occurs only in word-final position [13]. Particular problems may arise when communicating against a background of noise. Non-native listeners may display greater difficulty than native listeners under difficult listening conditions [16,20], Notwithstanding these factors, it is now clear that laboratory training can quickly and substantially improve listeners' perceptions of non-native speech contrasts [9.10,14,21]. In the case /t/-/l/ identification, Logan et al. [14] demonstrated that training with natural English tokens improved M-I\l identification for native speakers of Japanese. In view of the foregoing, we sought to examine the degree to which very extensive exposure to the English language as an adult, through many years of living in a predominantly English-language environment, affects the perception of "difficult" English speech contrasts such as M-N. The present study was therefore designed to study aspects of the speech perception abilities of adults who were native speakers of Korean but who had lived for many years in an English-speaking environment.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Jamieson, D. G. / Yu, K. (1996): "Perception of English /r/ and /l/ speech contrasts by native Korean listeners with extensive English-language experience", In ICSLP-1996, 1453-1456.