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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: Can native Japanese listeners learn to differentiate /r–l/ on the basis of F3 onset frequency?
Author: Erin M. Ingvalson
Author: Lori L. Holt
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Author: James L. McClelland
Institution: Stanford University
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: English
Japanese
Abstract: Many attempts have been made to teach native Japanese listeners to perceptually differentiate English /r–l/ (e.g. rock–lock). Though improvement is evident, in no case is final performance native English-like. We focused our training on the third formant onset frequency, shown to be the most reliable indicator of /r–l/ category membership. We first presented listeners with instances of synthetic /r–l/ stimuli varying only in F3 onset frequency, in a forced-choice identification training task with feedback. Evidence of learning was limited. The second experiment utilized an adaptive paradigm beginning with non-speech stimuli consisting only of /r/ and /l/ F3 frequency trajectories progressing to synthetic speech instances of /ra–la/; half of the trainees received feedback. Improvement was shown by some listeners, suggesting some enhancement of /r–l/ identification is possible following training with only F3 onset frequency. However, only a subset of these listeners showed signs of generalization of the training effect beyond the trained synthetic context.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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