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LINGUIST List 22.3671

Wed Sep 21 2011

Diss: Applied Ling/Phonetics: Shport: 'Cross-linguistic Perception...'

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        1.     Irina Shport , Cross-linguistic Perception and Learning of Japanese Lexical Prosody by English Listeners

Message 1: Cross-linguistic Perception and Learning of Japanese Lexical Prosody by English Listeners
Date: 15-Sep-2011
From: Irina Shport <ishportuoregon.edu>
Subject: Cross-linguistic Perception and Learning of Japanese Lexical Prosody by English Listeners
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Institution: University of Oregon
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Irina A. Shport

Dissertation Title: Cross-linguistic Perception and Learning of Japanese
Lexical Prosody by English Listeners

Dissertation URL: http://pages.uoregon.edu/ishport/page3/page3.html

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Cognitive Science
Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): Japanese (jpn)

Language Family(ies): Japanese Family

Dissertation Director(s):
Susan G. Guion Anderson
Kaori Idemaru
Vsevolod Kapatsinki
Melissa A. Redford

Dissertation Abstract:

The focus of this dissertation is on how language experience shapes
perception of a non-native prosodic contrast. In Tokyo Japanese,
fundamental frequency (F0) peak and fall are acoustic cues to lexically
contrastive pitch patterns, in which a word may be accented on a particular
syllable or unaccented (e.g., tsúru 'a crane', tsurú 'a vine', tsuru 'to fish').
In English, lexical stress is obligatory, and it may be reinforced by F0 in
higher-level prosodic groupings. Here I investigate whether English listeners
can attend to F0 peaks as well as falls in contrastive pitch patterns and
whether training can facilitate the learning of prosodic categories.

In a series of categorization and discrimination experiments, where F0 peak
and fall were manipulated in one-word utterances, the judgments of
prominence by naïve English listeners and native Japanese listeners were
compared. The results indicated that while English listeners had phonetic
sensitivity to F0 fall in a same-different discrimination task, they could not
consistently use the F0 fall to categorize F0 patterns. The effects of F0 peak
location and F0 fall on prominence judgments were always larger for Japanese
listeners than for English listeners. Furthermore, the interaction between these
acoustic cues affected perception of the contrast by Japanese, but not English
listeners. This result suggests that native, but not non-native, listeners have
complex and integrated processing of these cues.

The training experiment assessed improvement in categorization of Japanese
pitch patterns with exposure and feedback. The results suggested that training
improved identification of the accented patterns, which also generalized to new
words and new contexts. Identification of the unaccented pattern, on the other
hand, showed no improvement. Error analysis indicated that native English
listeners did not learn to attend specifically to the lack of the F0 fall.

To conclude, language experience influences perception of prosodic categories.
Although there is some sensitivity to F0 fall in non-native listeners, they rely
mostly on F0 peak location in language-like tasks such as categorization of
pitch patterns. Learning of new prosodic categories is possible. However, not
all categories are learned equally well, which suggests that first language
attentional biases affect second language acquisition in the prosodic domain.

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