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LINGUIST List 22.3769

Tue Sep 27 2011

Diss: Lang Acq/Neuroling: Hwang: 'Non-native Perception and ...'

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        1.     Jiwon Hwang , Non-native Perception and Production of Foreign Sequences

Message 1: Non-native Perception and Production of Foreign Sequences
Date: 20-Sep-2011
From: Jiwon Hwang <jihwangic.sunysb.edu>
Subject: Non-native Perception and Production of Foreign Sequences
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Institution: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Jiwon Hwang

Dissertation Title: Non-native Perception and Production of Foreign Sequences

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Dissertation Director(s):
Marie k. Huffman
Ellen Broselow

Dissertation Abstract:

A major question in the study of second language learning is the extent to
which mispronunciations originate in the inability to correctly perceive
vs. the inability to correctly produce foreign language structures. The
goal of this thesis is to determine the extent to which second language
(L2) learners' pronunciation errors reflect errors in perception or
gestural mistiming, by investigating Korean L2 learners' production and
perception of English stop-nasal sequences. Such sequences are prohibited
in Korean, where a stop before a nasal obligatorily undergoes nasalization
(/kukmul/-->[ku?mul] 'soup'). In production experiments where Korean L2
learners pronounced English nonsense words containing those sequences,
vowel insertion after the stop and devoicing of the stop were common errors
even though nasalization is the native repair strategy. More importantly,
two asymmetries in the choice of repair were that (1) vowel insertion
occurred almost exclusively after voiced stops, especially after velar
stops (tegnal-->tegVnal) and (2) devoicing occurred most frequently with
labial stops (tebnal-->tepnal). These asymmetric repair choices are
puzzling because neither of the languages in contact provides evidence for
such repairs.

Investigation of Korean speakers' perception of these sequences employing
both behavioral tasks and EEG revealed that the greater frequency of vowel
insertion after voiced stops was rooted in misperception: Korean listeners
tended to hear an illusory vowel after voiced stops and had difficulty
distinguishing voiced stop-nasal sequences from voiced stop-vowel-nasal
sequences. This misperception is an effect of the native language system,
in which voiced stops occur only preceding a vowel. In contrast, the
frequent devoicing of labial consonants was not reflected in perception. I
propose that instead, this pattern has its origin in the articulatory
timing patterns of Korean, in which bilabial stops are much more closely
overlapped with a following consonant than are velar stops, causing
devoicing of [b]. Results of this project show that second language
phonology involves a complex interplay between the native language grammar,
misperception through the filter of L1, and mastery of new articulatory

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