14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Enhancing Acoustic Cues to Aid L2 Speech Perception

Marta Ortega, Valerie Hazan

Dept of Phonetics & Linguistics, UCL, London, UK

Hazan and Simpson showed that enhancement techniques that selectively amplify regions of the speech signal containing information to consonant identity increased consonant intelligibility for VCV utterances presented in noise for both native and non-native speakers. Here, we explored the relationship between the effect of enhancement on perception of speech in quiet by non-native listeners and ease of perception of L2 phoneme categories, predicted on the basis of the degree of assimilation of L2 contrasts to L1 categories. The perception of three English contrasts (/r/-/l/, /w/-/r/, /w/-/j/ for Japanese listeners and /d/-/δ/, /t/-/d/, /δ/-/t/ for Spanish listeners) was assessed by means of syllable matching, identification and discrimination tasks. Post-hoc analyses of the error rates in identification tasks indicated that our enhancement techniques improved the perception of those English contrasts that were assimilated to a single L1 category in natural speech. Thus, enhancements led to increased perception in speech in quiet without previous training.


Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ortega, Marta / Hazan, Valerie (1999): "Enhancing acoustic cues to aid L2 speech perception", In ICPhS-14, 117-120.