Second Language Studies: Acquisition, Learning, Education and Technology

Tokyo, Japan
September 22-24, 2010

Consonant Cluster Production in Japanese Learners of English

Yoshiho Shibuya (1), Donna Erickson (2)

(1) Department of General Education, Kanazawa Medical University, Japan
(2) Department of Linguistics, Showa Music University, Japan

Japanese speakers often face difficulty in producing complex syllable onsets in English and insert an extra vowel. We examined whether the vowel inserted by Japanese speakers was epenthetic (phonological) or excrescent (phonetic). The acoustic data suggested that an L1 phonological process was involved in vowel insertion by Japanese speakers with lower-level English competency, because the inserted vowels were similar to vowels in Japanese. More advanced speakers’ results, on the other hand, suggested that phonetics may be involved. The articulatory data from this pilot study with one speaker supported the findings of the acoustic data, suggesting that both phonetics and phonology affect Japanese speaker’s vowel insertion in a complex way. This paper is based on work previously reported in [1].


  1. Shibuya, Y. “Production and perception of consonant clusters in the L2 phonology of Japanese learners of English”. Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 2005

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Shibuya, Yoshiho / Erickson, Donna (2010): "Consonant cluster production in Japanese learners of English", In L2WS-2010, paper P2-5.