Development of Japanese length contrast

a longitudinal study of L2 vowels produced by Australian learners of Japanese

Akiko Kato, Felicity Cox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

Abstract

In this study we investigate the acquisition of Japanese phonemic vowel length contrast by learners whose native language is Australian English (L1). The learners' Japanese vowels were obtained by longitudinal data collection over a 2 year period beginning at the initial stage of L2 learning. In order to examine L2 achievement, an analysis of vowel durational characteristics of Australian English and Japanese (produced by native Japanese speakers) was also conducted. Australian English learners of Japanese were able to achieve vowel duration contrast in L2 Japanese by lengthening long vowels to produce ratios of long to short vowels approaching that of native Japanese speakers. The results show that the degree of difference between the two languages predicts L1-L2 change. Length adjustments across vowel type were non-uniform with greater difference between the native language and the target language generating relatively greater change in L2 production. Previous studies have suggested that features with high functional load in L1 will be easily applied to L2 and those with a lower functional load will be less effectively applied (McAllister et al., 2001). In this study we examine the variable functional load of Australian English vowel duration and its relationship to achievement of Japanese phonemic vowel contrast.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th Australian International Conference on Speech Science & Technology
EditorsPaul Warren, Catherine I. Watson
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherAustralian Speech Science & Technology Association
Pages170-175
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0958194629
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventAustralasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (11th : 2006) - Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 6 Dec 20068 Dec 2006

Conference

ConferenceAustralasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (11th : 2006)
CityAuckland, New Zealand
Period6/12/068/12/06

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    Kato, A., & Cox, F. (2006). Development of Japanese length contrast: a longitudinal study of L2 vowels produced by Australian learners of Japanese. In P. Warren, & C. I. Watson (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Australian International Conference on Speech Science & Technology (pp. 170-175). Canberra: Australian Speech Science & Technology Association.