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

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

Categorization of American English Vowels by Japanese Speakers

Michelle Minnick Fox, Kazuaki Maeda

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Two groups of native speakers of Japanese (J) were given perceptual training on the American English (A.E.) vowels /i/ and /I/. Since J has corresponding vowels which differ primarily in duration while the A.E. vowels differ primarily in vowel quality, the pre-test and post-test use stimuli with the durations manipulated to measure which of these cues subjects used to distinguish between these two vowels. One group of subjects trained on natural stimuli while the other group trained on stimuli with the duration information removed (i.e. all tokens of a particular context of identical length). Results from pre-test show that the subjects do rely on duration as a primary cue to vowel identity. Both training groups categorized both natural and durationally manipulated stimuli better on the post-test than on the pre-test.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fox, Michelle Minnick / Maeda, Kazuaki (1999): "Categorization of American English vowels by Japanese speakers", In ICPhS-14, 1437-1440.