Perception of consonant length in familiar and unfamiliar languages by native speakers of Mandarin, Italian and Japanese

Kimiko Tsukada, John Hajek

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

    Abstract

    This study builds on our previous research and provides additional analyses to determine if there is a relationship between the ability to process consonant length in familiar and unfamiliar languages for learners of Japanese whose native language is Italian or Mandarin. The emphasis is on L2-L3 (second-third language) phonetic influence. Japanese and Italian use consonant length contrastively, but not Mandarin. We thus asked if Mandarin learners with higher proficiency in Japanese are more or less accurate in length identification than Italian learners with first language (L1) experience of consonant length. Specifically, we focused on finding out if learners who accurately identify Japanese consonant length might also be accurate in their identification of the length category in Italian. Four groups of listeners differing in their L1 (Italian x 2 groups, Japanese, Mandarin) and experience with consonant length participated in forced-choice identification experiments. L1 Japanese and L1 Italian listeners identified the length category more accurately in their L1 than in the foreign language (FL). The ability to identify consonant length in Japanese and Italian by 18 advanced Mandarin-speaking learners of Japanese seemed unrelated. This suggests that speech processing skills acquired in one FL may not automatically transfer to another FL.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020
    Place of PublicationBaixas, France
    PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association (ISCA)
    Pages66-70
    Number of pages5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    EventInternational Conference on Speech Prosody (10th : 2020) - Tokyo, Japan
    Duration: 25 May 202028 May 2020

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
    ISSN (Print)2333-2042

    Conference

    ConferenceInternational Conference on Speech Prosody (10th : 2020)
    CountryJapan
    CityTokyo
    Period25/05/2028/05/20

    Keywords

    • consonant length
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • L2-L3 phonetic influence
    • Mandarin

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