Release bursts in English word-final voiceless stops produced by native English and Korean adults and children

Kimiko Tsukada*, David Birdsong, Molly Mack, Hyekyung Sung, Ellen Bialystok, James Flege

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the acquisition of statistical properties of a second language (L2). Stop consonants are permitted in word-final position in both English and Korean, but they are variably released in English and invariably unreleased in Korean. Native Korean (K) adults and children living in North America and age-matched native English (E) speakers repeated English words ending in released tokens of /t/ and /k/ at two times separated by 1.2 years. The judgments of E-speaking listeners were used to determine if the stimuli were repeated with audible release bursts. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed fewer final releases for K than E adults, and fewer releases for /t/ (but not /k/) for K than E children. Nearly all /t/ and /k/ tokens were heard as intended in experiment 3, which evaluated intelligibility. However, the K adults' /k/ tokens were identified with less certainty than the E adults'. Taken together, the results suggested that noncontrastive (i.e., statistical) properties of an L2 can be learned by children, and to a somewhat lesser extent by adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
JournalPhonetica
Volume61
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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