Document Type

Book Chapter

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Language

English

Abstract

The present research aimed to investigate the effect of English proficiency level on Cantonese ESL learners’ learning of an English vowel contrast (namely, /e/ and /æ/) through a perception-based training paradigm called High Variability Phonetic Training (HVPT) which uses perceptual stimuli in multiple phonetic environments produced by various speakers (e.g. Logan, Lively & Pisoni, 1991). All subjects participated in both perception and production pretests and posttests. Twenty-two (9 high proficiency; 13 low proficiency) subjects were trained under 10 sessions of HVPT in which they had to identify /e/ and /æ/. Another 23 subjects (10 high proficiency; 13 low proficiency) served as control group. The results showed that exposing low and high proficiency learners to highly-variable natural stimuli can successfully train the perception of a non-native phonetic contrast. Transfer of perceptual learning to production and generalization of learning were also observed. The results obtained suggest that L2 teachers should consider adopting similar training paradigms in classrooms.

Keywords

Speech perception and production, vowel training, second language acquisition, High Variability Phonetic Training

Publication Date

2015

Source Publication Title

Investigating English pronunciation: Current Trends and Directions

Editors

Mompean, Jose A. ; Fouz-González, Jonás

Start Page

219

End Page

239

Publisher

Palgrave Macmillan UK

DOI

10.1057/9781137509437

ISBN (print)

978-1-137-50943-7

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