Discrimination of English and Thai words ending with voiceless stops by native Thai listeners differing in English experience

Kimiko Tsukada, Rungpat Roengpitya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study examines the discrimination of words ending with voiceless stops / p t k/ in first language (Ll) and second language (L2) by three groups of native Thai participants. These participants differed in their countries of residence and experience with L2 English in the formal education system. The first group (T1) Vlras a group of 18 Thai listeners who were living in Australia. The second and third groups consisted of 12 university students (T2) and 12 high-school students (T3) living in Thailand. Eighteen Australian English (AusE) listeners were included as controls. English and Thai words minimally contrasting in the final stop (e.g. 'cap' vs. 'cat') were presented to the listeners to investigate whether 1,2 phonetic learning occurs even for the contrasts that are expected to be discriminated with high accuracy from the onset of 1.2 learning and if so, how it is influenced by 1,2 experience. All three Thai groups showed reasonably accurate discrimination for both English and Thai words, but only 1'1 showed discrimination accuracy comparable to AusE in English. Further, only 1'3 was clearly more accurate in discriminating unreleased Thai than English stop contrasts, most of which were accompanied with release bursts. These two findings are taken to be evidence for phonetic learning of specific aspects of L2 contrasts rather than positive L1 transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman communication science
Subtitle of host publicationa compendium
EditorsRobert Dale, Denis Burnham, Catherine J Stevens
Place of PublicationSydney
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781741383638
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • cross-language perception
  • final stops
  • English
  • Thai


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