Numerous research has investigated how first language influences the perception of foreign sounds. The present study focuses on the perception of voiceless English fricatives by Japanese listeners with advanced and intermediate level English proficiency, and compares their results with that of English native listeners. Listeners identified consonants embedded in /a __ a/ in quiet, multi-speaker babble and white noise (SNR=0 dB). Results revealed that intermediate level learners scored the lowest among all listener groups, and /th/-/s/ confusions were unique to Japanese listeners. Confusions of /th/-/f/ were observed among all listener groups, which suggest that those phoneme confusions may be universal.
Bibliographic reference. Masuda, Hinako / Arai, Takayuki (2010): "Perception of voiceless fricatives by Japanese listeners of advanced and intermediate level English proficiency", In INTERSPEECH-2010, 1866-1869.