The perception of Arabic and Japanese short and long vowels by native speakers of Arabic, Japanese, and Persian

Kimiko Tsukada*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study examines the perception of short and long vowels in Arabic and Japanese by three groups of listeners differing in their first languages (L1): Arabic, Japanese, and Persian. While Persian uses the same alphabet as Arabic and Iranian students learn Arabic in school, the two languages are typologically unrelated. Further, unlike Arabic or Japanese, vowel length may no longer be contrastive in modern Persian. In this study, a question of interest was whether Persian listeners' foreign language learning experience or Japanese listeners' L1 phonological experience might help them to accurately process short and long vowels in Arabic. In Experiment 1, Arabic and Japanese listeners were more accurate than Persian listeners in discriminating vowel length contrasts in their own L1 only. In Experiment 2, Arabic and Japanese listeners were more accurate than Persian listeners in identifying the length categories in the other unknown language as well as in their own L1. The difference in the listeners' perceptual performance between the two experiments supports the view that long-term L1 representations may be invoked to a greater extent in the identification than discrimination test. The present results highlight the importance of selecting the appropriate test for assessing cross-language speech perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-998
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume129
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright (2011) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in JASA, 129:2, pp. 989-998 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3531801.

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