12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Florence, Italy
August 27-31. 2011

Perceptual Training of Vowel Length Contrast of Japanese by L2 Listeners: Effects of an Isolated Word versus a Word Embedded in Sentences

Mee Sonu (1), Keiichi Tajima (2), Hiroaki Kato (3), Yoshinori Sagisaka (4)

(1) Sophia University, Japan
(2) Hosei University, Japan
(3) NICT, Japan
(4) Waseda University, Japan

In an attempt to improve the perception of vowel length contrasts in Japanese by L2 learners (L1 Korean), we compared two different training methods. The first one involved training L2 learners with sets of isolated words contrasting the vowels (Word training), whereas the other training involved presenting same words within sentences (Sentence training). Word training and sentence training both led to significant improvement in the learners' ability to identify vowel length contrasts in Japanese, and, both types of training improved the listeners' ability to perceive consonant length contrasts in Japanese, which listeners were not trained to identify. Although the amount of overall improvement was not significantly different between training methods, sentence training showed improvement in a wider range of conditions than word training. These results indicate that word training and sentence training are both effective at improving perception of length contrasts in Japanese, but that sentence training may have some advantage over word training.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Sonu, Mee / Tajima, Keiichi / Kato, Hiroaki / Sagisaka, Yoshinori (2011): "Perceptual training of vowel length contrast of Japanese by L2 listeners: effects of an isolated word versus a word embedded in sentences", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 1137-1140.