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Abstract: Tateishi

Speech sound contrasts in second or foreign languages can be difficult for adult language learners to perceive. Numerous studies have been conducted to examine which training methods can improve perception of non-native sound contrasts. This study investigates whether production training using ultrasound as visual feedback leads to improved production and improved perception of non-native sound contrasts. In the experiment, Japanese learners of English who were beginning ESL students were trained to accurately produce English /r/ and /l/.

Ultrasound allows people to see the appropriate articulation for a speech sound. The efficacy of ultrasound for speech production training was demonstrated in a study in which Japanese learners of English successfully learned to produce /r/ and /l/ (Gick, Bernhardt, Bacsfalvi, & Wilson, 2008). However, this study did not examine the learners’ perception of the consonants. The aim of the present study is to determine whether ultrasound affects Japanese learners’ perception of /r/ and /l/. Participants received production training where they were shown ultrasound images. Before and after the training, they underwent perceptual tests to identify whether or not the production training was successful.

Preliminary results show that in general, both perception and production of /l/, not /r/, were improved; however, the participants’ improvements varied in degree and modality (perception vs. production). Thus, the results indicate that perception and production undergo a different developmental course with considerable individual variation. The preliminary results support the view that processes underlying perceptual learning and production learning are quite distinct (Iverson, Pinet, & Evans, 2012).

 

References

Gick, B., Bernhardt, B.M., Bacsfalvi, P., & Wilson, I. (2008). Ultrasound imaging

            applications in second language acquisition. In J.G.H. Edwards & M.L. Zampini

            (Eds.), Phonology and second language acquisition (Vol. 36, pp. 315-328).

            Amsterdam, Netherland: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Iverson, P., Pinet, M., & Evans, B.G. (2012). Auditory training for experienced and

            inexperienced second-language learners: Native French speakers learning English

            vowels. Applied Psycholinguistics, 33, 145-160.