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Academic Paper

Title: On the perceptual origin of loanword adaptations: experimental evidence from Japanese
Author: Sharon Peperkamp
Institution: Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique
Author: Inga Vendelin
Institution: Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique
Author: Kimihiro Nakamura
Institution: University of Tokyo
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: Japanese shows an asymmetry in the treatment of word-final [n] in loanwords from English and French: while it is adapted as a moraic nasal consonant in loanwords from English, it is adapted with a following epenthetic vowel in loanwords from French. We provide experimental evidence that this asymmetry is due to phonetic differences in the realisation of word-final [n] in English and French, and, consequently, to the way in which English and French word-final [n] are perceived by native speakers of Japanese. Specifically, French but not English word-final [n] has a strong vocalic release that Japanese listeners perceive as their native vowel [ɯ]. We propose a psycholinguistic model in which most loanword adaptations originate in perceptual assimilation, a process which takes place during perception and which maps non-native sounds and sound structures onto the phonetically closest native ones. We compare our model to alternatives couched within phonological theory.


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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