The perceptual assimilation of Danish monophthongs and diphthongs by monolingual Australian English speakers

Mona M. Faris, Catherine T. Best, Michael D. Tyler

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This study explores how experience with native language (L1) diphthongs influences the assimilation of non-native diphthongs. To obtain a comprehensive understanding of L1 attunement, native Australian English (AusE) speakers categorized and rated the Danish diphthongs, in addition to the monophthongs, in relation to their entire native vowel inventory. Short Danish vowels were assimilated to both lax and tense AusE vowels, and long Danish vowels were primarily categorized to tense AusE vowels. Only two of the Danish
diphthongs were assimilated to an AusE diphthong, while the rest were either assimilated to an AusE tense vowel or were uncategorized. This suggests
that the perceptual assimilation of non-native diphthongs is not based purely on sensitivity to vowel dynamics, but also on the perceived phonetic similarity between non-native diphthongs and L1 vowels. Implications for modelling cross-language speech perception are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Glasgow
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780852619414
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Congresses of Phonetic Sciences (18th : 2015) - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Aug 201514 Aug 2015


ConferenceInternational Congresses of Phonetic Sciences (18th : 2015)
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • cross-language speech perception
  • perceptual assimilation
  • vowels
  • diphthongs


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