Segments and segmental properties in cross-language perception: Korean perception of English obstruents in various prosodic locations.

Kenneth J. de Jong, Noah Silvert, and Hanyong Park.

Dept. of Linguist., Indiana Univ., 322 Memorial Hall, Bloomington, IN 47405

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Volume 115, No. 5, Pt. 2, p. 2504.


Experimental models of cross-language perception and second-language acquisition (such as PAM and SLM) typically treat language differences in terms of whether the two languages share phonological segmental categories. Linguistic models, by contrast, generally examine properties which cross classify segments, such as features, rules, or prosodic constraints. Such models predict that perceptual patterns found for one segment will generalize to other segments of the same class. This paper presents perceptual identifications of Korean listeners to a set of voiced and voiceless English stops and fricatives in various prosodic locations to determine the extent to which such generality occurs. Results show some class-general effects; for example, voicing identification patterns generalize from stops, which occur in Korean, to nonsibilant fricatives, which are new to Korean listeners. However, when identification is poor, there are clear differences between segments within the same class. For example, in identifying stops and fricatives, both point of articulation and prosodic position bias perceptions; coronals are more often labeled fricatives, and syllable initial obstruents are more often labeled stops. These results suggest that class-general perceptual patterns are not a simple consequence of the structure of the perceptual system, but need to be acquired by factoring out within-class differences.