Second Language Studies: Acquisition, Learning, Education and Technology

Tokyo, Japan
September 22-24, 2010

Attention to Critical Acoustic Features for L2 Phonemic Identification and Its Implication on L2 Perceptual Training

Yoon Hyun Kim (1), Jung-Oh Kim (2)

(1) Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
(2) Department of Psychology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

This study examined whether native speakers of Japanese could attend to critical acoustic features while identifying lenis and aspirated among Korean alveolar stops. Most Japanese participants had studied Korean for more than one year at a university language center in Korea. Native speakers of Korean were also tested with the same task for comparison. Korean participants discriminated the phonemic contrast according to both VOT and F0 or just F0. In contrast, Japanese participants identified lenis and aspirated mostly based on VOT information. They correctly identified stimuli of the phonemes which a speaker produced distinctively in terms of VOT. When stimuli weren’t noticeably different in VOT, they confused the two phonemes. Unlike Korean participants, they hardly considered F0 information. This result suggests that some training materials, although they were produced by native speakers, can’t lead L2 learners to catch critical acoustic information of L2 phonemes. If learners can identify L2 sounds accurately without attention to critical features, they may stick to wrong information in the sounds.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kim, Yoon Hyun / Kim, Jung-Oh (2010): "Attention to critical acoustic features for L2 phonemic identification and its implication on L2 perceptual training", In L2WS-2010, paper P2-7.