Cross-language perceptual similarity predicts categorial discrimination of American vowels by naïve Japanese listeners.

Abstract

Current speech perception models propose that relative perceptual difficulties with non-native segmental contrasts can be predicted from cross-language phonetic similarities. Japanese (J) listeners performed a categorical discrimination task in which nine contrasts (six adjacent height pairs, three front/back pairs) involving eight American (AE) vowels [iː, ɪ, ε, æː, ɑː, ʌ, ʊ, uː] in /hVbə/ disyllables were tested. The listeners also completed a perceptual assimilation task (categorization as J vowels with category goodness ratings). Perceptual assimilation patterns (quantified as categorization overlap scores) were highly predictive of discrimination accuracy (r(s)=0.93). Results suggested that J listeners used both spectral and temporal information in discriminating vowel contrasts.

DOI: 10.1121/1.3630221

Cite this paper

@article{Strange2011CrosslanguagePS, title={Cross-language perceptual similarity predicts categorial discrimination of American vowels by naïve Japanese listeners.}, author={Winifred Strange and Miwako Hisagi and Reiko Akahane-Yamada and Rieko Kubo}, journal={The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America}, year={2011}, volume={130 4}, pages={EL226-31} }