Session Foreign Lang. Acqu. IV:

Foreign Language Acquisition IV: Perceptual Training

Type: oral
Chair: Grit Mehlhorn
Date: Friday - August 10, 2007
Time: 09:00
Room: 6 (Black)


Foreign Lang. Acqu. IV-1 Second Language Vowel Perception Training: Effects of Set Size, Training Order, and Native Language
Kanae Nishi, Indiana University
Diane Kewley-Port, Indiana University
Paper File
  This paper reports results of a series of vowel training studies. Study 1 trained two groups of Japanese learners of English on American English vowels and examined the effects of training set sizes (nine vs three more difficult vowels); Study 2 trained Korean learners of English and examined the efficiency of training protocols using both nine- and three-vowel sets. Study 3 compared the Japanese and Korean results on the untrained materials. Results suggested following: 1) vowel training works best when a large set of vowels, rather than a subset, is used; 2) training focusing on a smaller yet difficult vowels may have detrimental effects on later learning; and 3) improvement due to training on nonsense words may or may not carry over to untrained real word materials, possibly due to an interaction between native and non-native phonology.
Foreign Lang. Acqu. IV-2 Auditory training of English vowels for first-language speakers of Spanish and German
Paul Iverson, University College London
Bronwen Evans, University College London
Paper File
  This study compared how first-language Spanish and German speakers learn English vowels via computer-based auditory training. Spanish has fewer vowels than German, and thus Spanish speakers may have more unused room in their vowel space for new category learning. However, our results demonstrated that Germans improved twice as much (20 percentage points) as Spanish speakers (10 percentage points) following 5-sessions of training on English vowels (high-variability identification with feedback). The results suggest that the large first-language vowel inventory of German speakers facilitates rather than interferes with new learning.
Foreign Lang. Acqu. IV-3 Learning L3: Why Learning French First is Better than Learning German First
Laura Catharine Smith, Brigham Young University
Wendy Baker, Brigham Young University
Paper File
  This study investigated whether differences in cross-language similarity between English-French and English-German vowels would translate into differences in accurately identifying and discriminating French and German vowels (i.e., /i/, /y/, and /u/). In addition, this study investigated whether these same differences in cross-language perception would also translate into differences in accurately identifying and discriminating vowels in a novel third language. The results suggest that learners exposed to a language with a greater perceived difference with the L1 are more able to generalize their perception of their L2 vowels to a novel L3.

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