Lexically Guided Perceptual Learning of a Vowel Shift in an Interactive L2 Listening Context

E. Felker, Mirjam Ernestus, Mirjam Broersma


Lexically guided perceptual learning has traditionally been studied with ambiguous consonant sounds to which native listeners are exposed in a purely receptive listening context. To extend previous research, we investigate whether lexically guided learning applies to a vowel shift encountered by non-native listeners in an interactive dialogue. Dutch participants played a two-player game in English in either a control condition, which contained no evidence for a vowel shift, or a lexically constraining condition, in which onscreen lexical information required them to re-interpret their interlocutor’s /ɪ/ pronunciations as representing /ε/. A phonetic categorization pre-test and post-test were used to assess whether the game shifted listeners’ phonemic boundaries such that more of the /ε/-/ɪ/ continuum came to be perceived as /ε/. Both listener groups showed an overall post-test shift toward /ɪ/, suggesting that vowel perception may be sensitive to directional biases related to properties of the speaker’s vowel space. Importantly, listeners in the lexically constraining condition made relatively more post-test /ε/ responses than the control group, thereby exhibiting an effect of lexically guided adaptation. The results thus demonstrate that non-native listeners can adjust their phonemic boundaries on the basis of lexical information to accommodate a vowel shift learned in interactive conversation.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1414

Cite as: Felker, E., Ernestus, M., Broersma, M. (2019) Lexically Guided Perceptual Learning of a Vowel Shift in an Interactive L2 Listening Context. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 3123-3127, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1414.


@inproceedings{Felker2019,
  author={E. Felker and Mirjam Ernestus and Mirjam Broersma},
  title={{Lexically Guided Perceptual Learning of a Vowel Shift in an Interactive L2 Listening Context}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={3123--3127},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1414},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1414}
}