Indiana University

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Events for the
Friday, March 29, 2013
01:00pm
  • Auditory perceptual learning: Factors that drive and prevent perceptual learning

    Time: 01:30pm - 03:00pm 

    Place: Psychology 128 (Conference room)

     

    Beverly Wright (Northwestern University)

    Performance on many perceptual tasks improves with practice even in adults, indicating that our sensory systems are not rigid but rather can be changed through experience. My coworkers and I have been investigating the factors that drive and prevent perceptual learning on auditory skills, including how those factors change with age and are affected by sensory and cognitive disorders. Conclusions drawn from learning on fine-grained auditory discrimination tasks have held for visual and speech learning, suggesting that common principles are at play across multiple domains. Knowledge of these issues will lead to more effective training strategies to help restore perceptual abilities in people with perceptual disorders as well as to enhance those skills in people with normal perception.

     

    In category: Phonetics and phonology

     

02:00pm
  • Acquisition of /l/ in the L2 Spanish of native English learners

    Time: 02:30pm - 04:00pm 

    Place: Ballantine Hall 205

     

    Megan Solon

    The voiced alveolar lateral phoneme /l/ has two main realizations in American English: a “light” variant that occurs in prevocalic positions, and a “dark” or “velarized” variant that occurs in postvocalic positions (Olive, Greenwood, & Coleman, 1993: p. 24). The phonetic inventory for /l/ of Spanish only contains a “light” variant (Hualde, 2005). Given this difference, and the frequent claim by Spanish pronunciation manuals that interference of the dark [ɫ] in learner Spanish contributes to the percept of foreign accentedness (e.g., Schwegler, Kempff, & Ameal-Guerra 2010), the present study investigates how English-speaking learners of Spanish as a second language (L2) produce the phoneme /l/ in Spanish, and how the phonetic features typically associated with the dark [ɫ] are modified as proficiency (i.e., class level) increases.
    The participants were 30 learners of Spanish, 10 from each of three levels of study (beginning, low-intermediate, and high-intermediate), and 10 native speakers of Spanish. Each participant completed a 25-question multiple choice proficiency test, a background questionnaire, and a word list and sentence creation task designed to elicit samples of /l/ in a variety of contexts in both semi-spontaneous and reading styles. Measures of the second formant (F2), related to tongue position, were extracted, analyzed with Praat, and normalized. The dependent variable was the F2 value which indicates realization of /l/ along a continuum of velarization (cf. Recasens, 2004). The five independent variables were i) position of /l/ in the syllable, ii) position of stress, iii) place of articulation of the following segment, iv) preceding vowel quality, and v) existence or not of a cognate in English. Tokens of /l/ in similar contexts were elicited from English word lists to allow for a comparison between the formants values in the L1 and L2 of each participant.
    This talk will discuss preliminary findings for /l/ production in L2 Spanish as well as plans for the expansion and refinement of this project that are currently underway.

     

    In category: Second language acquisition

     




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