Perception of Italian and Japanese singleton/geminate consonants by listeners from different language backgrounds

Kimiko Tsukada, Felicity Cox, John Hajek, Yukari Hirata

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


We investigated if and how the use of one or multiple languages (bilingualism hereafter) affects the perception of intervocalic singleton/geminate consonants in Italian and Japanese. Two groups of non-native listeners (monolingual speakers of Australian English and bilingual speakers of Cantonese/English or Vietnamese/English) were examined. Two groups of native listeners (Italian and Japanese) residing in Australia acted as controls. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that the bilinguals process unfamiliar sounds more efficiently than the monolinguals due to their expanded phonetic inventories. Results showed that bilingualism did not result in superior performance overall. However, while the monolinguals identified consonant length in Italian slightly more accurately (albeit non-significantly) than in Japanese, the bilinguals showed the opposite pattern, i.e. greater accuracy with Japanese than with Italian. Generally, bilingual and monolingual non-native listeners misperceived geminates as singletons more often than they misperceived singletons as geminates in Japanese, but not in Italian.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th international congress of phonetic sciences
Place of PublicationGlasgow, UK
PublisherUniversity of Glasgow
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780852619414
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational congress of phonetic sciences (18th : 2015) - Glasgow, UK
Duration: 10 Aug 201514 Aug 2015


ConferenceInternational congress of phonetic sciences (18th : 2015)
CityGlasgow, UK


  • singleton/geminate
  • cross-language perception
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • bilingualism


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