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

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

Effects of Imitation on the Articulation of Challenging Speech Targets

Douglas N. Honorof

Yale University & Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Magnetometrically transduced articulator position data were collected for pre-vocalic American English /r/ and /l/ as spoken by four adult Japanese learners of English under native-speaker imitation and non-imitation conditions. Japanese has only one liquid phoneme, therefore imitation of these contrasting and reportedly difficult English sounds was expected to decrease token-to-token variability and to increase overall distinctiveness of sets of articulator positions for the two members of the contrast. Stepwise discriminant analyses and variability testing provide support for two claims. 1) The visual modality may be relied upon during imitation when the information it provides is especially salient. 2) Imitation of a native-speaker model facilitates articulatory control over challenging L2 speech contrasts in inverse relation to previous mastery of control for the individual targets.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Honorof, Douglas N. (1999): "Effects of imitation on the articulation of challenging speech targets", In ICPhS-14, 1141-1144.