The current study experimentally manipulates attention to different aspects of the phonetic signal during learning. In an identification task, two native English speaking participant groups were trained on novel Hindi words containing unfamiliar consonants and vowels. Both groups were presented with the same auditory stimuli. One group was instructed to attend to the Hindi consonants and the other to the Hindi vowels presented in these words. The group oriented toward consonants showed greater consonant discrimination ability than the group oriented toward vowels in a post-test/pre-test comparison. These results confirm the importance of attentional mechanisms for phonetic learning.