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One-to-multiple vowel mapping in the perception of Dutch learners of Spanish Paola Escudero McGill University and University of Utrecht Paul Boersma University.

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Presentation on theme: "One-to-multiple vowel mapping in the perception of Dutch learners of Spanish Paola Escudero McGill University and University of Utrecht Paul Boersma University."— Presentation transcript:

1 One-to-multiple vowel mapping in the perception of Dutch learners of Spanish Paola Escudero McGill University and University of Utrecht Paul Boersma University of Amsterdam Dag van de Fonetiek Utrecht, December 20, 2001

2 Single-Category Assimilation (SCA)  Problem: –poor category differentiation –no lexical contrast  no produced contrast  General solution: category split

3 Two-Category Assimilation (TCA)  Very good category differentiation  Problem: boundary mismatch  confusion  General solution: boundary shift

4 Multiple-Category Assimilation (MCA)  Category differentiation is “too good”  Problems: extra lexical contrasts, boundary mismatch, SCA  Possible solutions?: category split / merger / loss, boundary shift

5 Preliminary hypothesis 1) MCA exists and it is problematic. 2)Therefore, Dutch learners will have poorer front than back vowel categorisation in Spanish.

6 Subjects  Dutch learners of Spanish 38 ( )  Bilingual Dutch-Spanish 3  Dutch-only 11  Spanish-only 44

7 Task: “vowels from a Spanish text” 125 Spanish target stimuli, 55 Spanish fillers

8 Beginning Dutch learners of Spanish

9 Intermediate Dutch learners of Spanish

10 Advanced Dutch learners of Spanish

11 Dutch / Spanish bilinguals

12 Spanish-only listeners

13 We have observed:  Dutch learners of Spanish perform poorer on front than on back vowels. Our prediction is borne out.  Learners have better performance according to their experience.  This hints at the existence of MCA, its problematic nature, and its reduction during L2 development.

14 Is it really MCA that causes the problem with front vowels?  So that we could answer this question, our listening experiment had three separate tasks.

15 Task 1: Does MCA exist?

16 Task 1: “vowels from a Dutch text” 125 Spanish target stimuli, 55 Dutch decoys

17 Dutch labelling task (thinking it’s Dutch)

18 Does MCA exist?  Yes . Learners use all three L1 categories when listening to Spanish thinking that it is Dutch.

19 Task 2: Do learners do anything about MCA?

20 We propose they reduce MCA (Assumption: people have language-dependent perception modes) Hypothesis: learners show less MCA in their L2 perception mode than in their L1 perception mode.  A measure of MCA: the amount of use of / I / in an L1 labelling task.  A measure of MCA reduction: reduction of / I / use between a Dutch and a Spanish perception mode.

21 Task 2: “vowels from a Spanish text” 125 Spanish target stimuli, 55 Spanish fillers

22 Dutch-only listeners MCA- reduction is small or non-existent

23 Beginning Dutch learners of Spanish MCA- reduction is small or non-existent

24 Intermediate Dutch learners of Spanish MCA- reduction is intermediate

25 Advanced Dutch learners of Spanish MCA- reduction is large

26 Dutch / Spanish bilinguals MCA- reduction is large

27 Do learners do anything about MCA?  Yes . They reduce the usage of / I / between perception modes.

28 Task 3: Do learners have inaccurate L2 front vowel categorisation?  A measure of vowel categorisation accuracy: boundary location in an L2 labelling task.

29 Task 3: “vowels from a Spanish text” 125 Spanish target stimuli, 55 Spanish fillers

30 Spanish labelling task

31 Do learners have inaccurate L2 front vowel categorisation?  Yes . Their boundary between /e/ and / i / is inappropriate for Spanish.

32 Whole experiment: Is it MCA that causes the front vowel problems for Dutch learners of Spanish?

33 MCA reduction correlates strongly with categorisation accuracy r = 0.62 p < % =

34 Our interpretation of this high correlation:  It reflects a causal relationship: / I / reduction (MCA solving) determines the degree of e-i accuracy for the learners

35 Conclusion 1) MCA exists: learners use 3 categories where the target language has 2. 2) MCA is problematic: it leads to inaccurate L2 categorisation. 3) Language-dependent perception modes exist: people do different things depending on the language that they hear (or think they hear). 4) Learners change: with experience, MCA decreases and categorisation accuracy increases. 5) Learners solve the MCA problem: we identified one strategy for solving MCA, namely they reduce the use of the extra category.

36 Dank u voor uw aandacht! ¡Gracias por su atención! Thank you for your attention!


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