An Acoustical Analysis of a Japanese Speakers Production of English /r/ and /l/

Susan Kuzniak Kinnaird, Jennifer Zapf

Abstract


In general, native Japanese speakers have difficulty perceiving the English /r/ and /l/ phonemes due to the fact their native language does not have these two sounds as contrasting phonemes (Logan et al., 1991; Lively et al., 1993, 1994). Although much has been written on L1 Japanese with regards to the English /l/ and /r/, little has addressed the acoustical differences between speakers of Japanese and speakers of English as they produce the English liquids. This paper discusses an experiment in which these acoustical differences were described and analyzed. The study investigated the differences between the second and third formants produced by a native speaker of Japanese and a native speaker of English as they pronounced a series of words containing either an /r/, an /l/, or both. The position of the liquid within the word was also taken into consideration. The study found substantial differences between the F3 values for /l/ in every word position, and smaller differences between the F2 values of /l/ and the F3 values for /r/. This evidence provides support for the idea that perception and production may be closely linked and, thus, calls for more acoustical analysis of the productions of native Japanese speakers.

Keywords


Japanese, phonetics, production, liquid consonants

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References


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