LINGUIST List 11.725

Thu Mar 30 2000

Sum: L2 Speech Perception

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. s-tokuma_eibun, L2 Speech Perception

Message 1: L2 Speech Perception

Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 11:54:51 +0900
From: s-tokuma_eibun <>
Subject: L2 Speech Perception

Dear Linguists,

I recently posted a question about L2 speech perception in noise. (In 
Linguist 11.587) Due to our local system failure which lasted for some time, 
some of the response mails were bounced back to the senders or simply lost. 
Please accept my apologies if your name, even if you sent me a message, is 
not included in the list of those who replied to me:

James Jenkins(
Carol M. Johnson (
Ron Sheen (
Michelle Minnick Fox (
Mikael Parkvall (
Herman Li (
Ewa Latecka (
Debra M. Hardison(
Amee Shah(
Robert H. McAllister (
I am really grateful to everyone!

First this phenomenon has been investigated and confirmed in several papers 
and dissertations; certainly it was not our imagination. James Jenkins 
suggests that the phenomenon presumably reflects the tenuous grasp that L2 
listeners have on the signal (i.e., the fact that they do not have full 
access to ALL of the covariation [redundancy] in the signal that helps the 
normal listener when listening to his/her own language.) , and this view is 
shared by other people, such as Ron Sheen and Ewa Latecka.

The main papers (and the papers dealing with relevant topics) whose full 
reference I managed to trace are as follows:

Takata, Y. & Nabelek, A. (1990) "English consonant recognition in noise and 
in reverberation by Japanese and American listeners." JASA 88, 663-666

Florentine, M. (1985) "Speech perception in noise by fluent, non-native 
listeners." Proceedings of Inter-noise 1985, 1021-1024

Mayo, L., Florentine, M., & Buus, S. (1997). "Age of Second Language 
Acquisition and Perception of Speech in Noise." Journal of speech, Language, 
and Hearing Research, 40, 686-693

Munro, M. (1998) "The effects of Noise on the Intelligibility of 
Foreign-Accented Speech" Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 139-154.

Hardison, D.M. (1996) "Bimodal Speech Perception by Native and Nonnative 
Speakers of English: Factors Influencing the McGurk Effect." Language 
Learning, 46, 3-73

Furthermore, there are unconfirmed papers/studies. Robert H. McAllister has 
recently done the research on the very topic, using native AmeE/Spanish 
speakers learning Swedish as L2 and found that comprehension S/N ratio 
threshold was different between L2 learners and native speakers. We asked him 
to send us his latest paper by snail airmail, and unfortunately it has not 
arrived to me so far (probably, being a snail mail, it is now on the way) 
Please mail me later if you want to know the full reference of this paper. 

Carol M Johnson just completed a study for her PhD dissertation (1999) that 
included L2 perception in noise, but her dissertation is being hard-bound by 
UMI now and I could not obtain it. Also Amee Shah suggested that one of her 
colleagues at CUNY studies the same topic for her unpublished Ph.D 
dissertation, and that I should check the reference in Dissertation Abstracts,
Levine 1999, City University of New York. 

James Jenkins and Amee Shah suggested some study done by A. Boothroyd (or 
Boothroid), probably published in 1997/1998, although I could not find out 
its citations.

Finally I thank those who send their personal experience / anecdotal evidence.
I do not have a space here to discuss them, but they are very interesting.

I hope this summary will be useful to those who are interested in this 

Shinichi TOKUMA (Dr)
Dept of English Language and Literature,
Sagami Women's University,
2-1-1, Bunkyo, Sagami-hara, 228-8533,
Kanagawa, JAPAN
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