Perception of Japanese consonant length by native speakers of Korean differing in Japanese learning experience

Kimiko Tsukada, Joo Yeon Kim, Jeong Im Han

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


    The perception of Japanese consonant length contrasts (i.e. short/singleton vs long/geminate) by native and non-native listeners was compared to examine the extent to which difficult foreign language (FL) sounds are processed accurately by native speakers of Korean (NK). Three NK groups differed in their experience with Japanese: non-learners, intermediate and advanced. Via the AXB task, the NK speakers' discrimination accuracy of Japanese consonant length contrasts was assessed and compared to that of a group of 10 native speakers of Japanese (NJ) who served as controls. On average, the NK advanced group did not significantly differ from the NJ group and outperformed the NK non-learner (but not the NK intermediate) group. The NK intermediate and non-learner groups did not differ from each other. However, regardless of experience with Japanese, the NK speakers may benefit from the first language (L1) laryngeal contrasts, associating L1 Korean fortis consonants with Japanese geminates. The NK advanced group appeared less affected than the other two NK groups by Japanese pitch accent patterns in their consonant length perception. The NK advanced learners' results demonstrate that it is possible for non-native speakers to acquire native-like discrimination of consonant length in adulthood.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationINTERSPEECH 2020
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the annual conference of the International Speech Communication Association
    Place of PublicationBaixas, France
    PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association (ISCA)
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    EventINTERSPEECH (21st : 2020) - Shanghai, China
    Duration: 25 Oct 202029 Oct 2020

    Publication series

    ISSN (Electronic)1990-9772


    ConferenceINTERSPEECH (21st : 2020)


    • consonant length
    • short/singleton
    • long/geminate
    • Japanese
    • Korean

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