Perception of vowel length contrasts in Arabic and Japanese: preliminary data from American English, Japanese and Thai Listeners

Kimiko Tsukada, Yukari Hirata, Rungpat Roengpitya

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the discrimination of short and long vowels in two quantity-sensitive languages (Arabic and Japanese) by five groups of listeners differing in their first language (L1) backgrounds and experience with Japanese. Listeners’ L1s were American English, Japanese and Thai. One group each of American and Thai listeners was studying Japanese in their home countries (US and Thailand, respectively) and the other group had no experience with Japanese. None of the listeners had any experience with Arabic. As expected, the native Japanese (NJ) listeners discriminated the Japanese length contrasts more accurately than did non-native listeners (95 vs. 77-84%). Five groups did not differ in their discrimination accuracy for the Arabic vowels. The between-group difference in the response patterns suggests that only American learners of Japanese have experienced a shift in their long-term cognitive representations and approximated to the NJ group to a greater extent than the other groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the 14th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventAustralasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (14th : 2012) - Sydney
Duration: 3 Dec 20126 Dec 2012

Keywords

  • cross-language speech perception
  • vowel length
  • Arabic
  • Japanese
  • Thai

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