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Title:The perception and production of palatal codas by Korean L2 learners of English
Author(s):Huensch, Amanda
Director of Research:Tremblay, Annie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ionin, Tania
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Tremblay, Annie; Shih, Chilin; Dickerson, Wayne
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Second Language Acquisition
Abstract:One of the central questions within the field of the acquisition of second language (L2) phonology is the role that speech perception plays in accurate speech production and whether, and if so, how, the speech perception and production systems are linked. Existing theories of L2 speech perception such as the Speech Learning Model (SLM) (Flege, 1991, 1995, 2003), the Native Language Magnet Model (NLM) (Kuhl & Iverson, 1995; Kuhl, 2000), and the Perceptual Assimilation Model (PAM) (Best, 1994, 1995; Best, McRoberts & Goodell, 2001), have made predictions about the acquisition of a second language phonological system, but are mostly concerned with the acquisition of L2 segments and segmental contrasts in relation to first language (L1) segments. Previous work indicates that syllable structure constraints can also play a role in speech perception (e.g., Dupoux, Kakehi, Hirose, Pallier, & Mehler, 1999; Kabak & Idsardi, 2007) and speech production (e.g., Abrahamsson, 2003; Hancin-Bhatt & Bhatt, 1997; Hancin-Bhatt, 2000). This dissertation comprises three sets of experiments designed to investigate speech perception and production in relation to syllable structure constraints, as well as the mediating effect that perceptual training has on both perception and production, thereby shedding light on the relationship between L2 speech perception and L2 speech production. The experiments investigate the perception and production of existing and novel phonemes within an existing but restricted syllable structure, namely palatal codas in the English of native Korean speakers. Using an AXB perception task and a read-aloud task, Experiment 1 compares L2 perception and production accuracies of palatal codas. Experiment 2 uses a forced-choice word-identification task and a read-aloud task to investigate cues that may help L2 learners perceive palatal codas, and it corroborates results from the production task in Experiment 1 with a different set of learners. Experiment 3 implements perceptual phonetic training on palatal codas using a pretest/post-test design, and it compares the effects of training on improvements in perception and production of palatal codas for familiar and novel words and talkers. A control group who completed a perceptual training on targets unrelated to the structures that are the focus of this dissertation is also included. The results of Experiment 1 show that (1) the existence of a phoneme in the L1 does not necessarily facilitate its acquisition in an existing, but restricted syllable structure, (2) no direct relationship between learners’ perception and production accuracies emerges, and (3) learners at higher proficiencies show evidence of having been successful in the acquisition of palatal codas. Experiment 2 demonstrates that some learners are able to use native-like cues to perceive palatal codas, but do so only in certain tasks. Experiment 3 indicates that (1) learners who received perceptual phonetic training on palatal codas outperform those who did not in perception and production tasks, (2) perceptual phonetic training on palatal codas is successful in improving the perception and production accuracies of palatal codas, (3) learners are able to generalize learning from perceptual training not only to new words and new talkers, but also to new discourse contexts, and (4) similar to the findings in Experiment 1, improvements in perception are not always directly linked to improvements in production. The finding that accurate perception of segments within an existing but restricted syllable structure can be difficult provides implications for L2 speech perception theories that syllable structure must be taken into consideration to fully understand acquisitional patterns. The finding that perceptual training improves production and allows for generalizability to new words and talkers in both perception and production provides implications for L2 speech learning theories that perception and production systems are linked. It also provides important pedagogical implications for pronunciation classes and teachers in that supplying a variety of input for learners is necessary. Because the perceptual training used in this research was designed to be pedagogically feasible, it provides one promising means of supplementing out-of-class activities in pronunciation classes. The finding that perceptual training can improve production accuracies implies a connection between perception and production systems. However, the lack of a consistent correlation between perception and production improvements adds to the growing body of work in which questions the existence of a direct link between perception and production systems.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Amanda Huensch
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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