Auditory-Visual Speech Processing
(AVSP 2001)

September 7-9, 2001
Aalborg, Denmark

Auditory-Visual L2 Speech Perception: Effects of Visual Cues and Acoustic-Phonetic Context for Spanish Learners of English

M. Ortega-Llebaria, A. Faulkner, Valerie Hazan

Dept. Phonetics and Linguistics, UCL, London, UK

This study was designed to identify English speech contrasts that might be appropriate for the computer-based auditory-visual training of Spanish learners of English. It examines auditory-visual and auditory consonant and vowel confusions by Spanish speaking students of English and a native English control group. 36 Spanish listeners were tested on their identification of 16 consonants and 9 vowels of British English. For consonants, both L2 learners and controls showed significant improvements in the audiovisual condition, with larger effects for syllable final consonants. The patterns of errors by L2 learners were strongly predictable from our knowledge of the relation between the phoneme inventories of Spanish and English. Consonant confusions which were language-dependent - mostly errors in voicing and manner - were not reduced by the addition of visual cues whereas confusions that were common to both listener groups and related to acoustic-phonetic sound characteristics did show improvements. Spanish listeners did not use visual cues that disambiguated contrasts that are phonemic in English but have allophonic status in Spanish. Visual features therefore have different weights when cueing phonemic and allophonic distinctions.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ortega-Llebaria, M. / Faulkner, A. / Hazan, Valerie (2001): "Auditory-visual L2 speech perception: Effects of visual cues and acoustic-phonetic context for Spanish learners of English", In AVSP-2001, 149-154.