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

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


The Effect of Proficiency in a Specific Foreign Language on the Ability to Identify a Novel Foreign Language

Emilia Alonso Marks, Z. S. Bond, Verna Stockmal

Ohio University, USA

Adult listeners have the ability to identify spoken samples of a language that they do not know and discriminate this language from others. In previous investigations, we have found that listeners attend to rhythm, pitch patterns, and segmentals as well as speaker and voice characteristics. The question of interest in this study are the effects of previous exposure to other languages. Three groups of listeners participated in the study, one group of monolingual American college students, and two groups of bilingual English-Spanish, and Spanish-English, respectively. All listeners first watched a brief Japanese cartoon. After viewing it, they heard a test recording with samples of five foreign languages. The listeners had to decide whether each language sample was Japanese by responding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a prepared answer sheet. In general, the groups were significantly different from each other. The bilingual listeners exhibited different confusion patterns from the monolingual listeners.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Marks, Emilia Alonso / Bond, Z. S. / Stockmal, Verna (1999): "The effect of proficiency in a specific foreign language on the ability to identify a novel foreign language", In ICPhS-14, 133-135.