15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Perception and Production of English /ɛ/ and /æ/ by Korean Children and Adults Living in North America

Kimiko Tsukada (1), David Birdsong (2), Ellen Bialystok (3), Molly Mack (4), Hyekyung Sung (5), James E. Flege (1)

(1) University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
(2) University of Texas, USA
(3) York University, Canada
(4) University of Illinois, USA
(5) Stanford University, USA

This study assessed the production and categorial discrimination of English /ɛ/ and /æ/ by native Korean (NK) adults and children. A total of 108 participants (72 NK and 36 age-matched native English speakers) were tested twice. The NK participants were further subdivided according to length of residence (LOR) in North America. In Experiment 1, both the NK adults and NK children differed from age-matched native English (NE) participants in discriminating /ɛ/ from /æ/, but the NK children showed more accurate discrimination than the NK adults did. The participants' productions of /ɛ/ and /æ/ were examined in Experiment 2. An acoustic analysis suggested that, unlike the results obtained for vowel discrimination, the NK children's production of the two target vowels closely resembled NE children's. However, the NK adults failed to produce as large a contrast as NE adults. The differing pattern of results obtained for discrimination and production for the NK children but not the NK adults suggested that the relation between production and perception abilities in a second language (L2) might depend on the age of L2 learning.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tsukada, Kimiko / Birdsong, David / Bialystok, Ellen / Mack, Molly / Sung, Hyekyung / Flege, James E. (2003): "The perception and production of English /ɛ/ and /æ/ by Korean children and adults living in North America", In ICPhS-15, 1589-1592.