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The effects of high versus low talker variability and individual aptitude on phonetic training of Mandarin lexical tones

Dong, H; Clayards, M; Brown, H; Wonnacott, E; (2018) The effects of high versus low talker variability and individual aptitude on phonetic training of Mandarin lexical tones. PeerJ Preprints , 6 , Article e27063v1. 10.7287/peerj.preprints.27063. Green open access

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Abstract

High variability training has been found more effective than low variability training in learning various non-native phonetic contrasts. However, little research has considered whether this applies to the learning of tone contrasts. The only two relevant studies suggested that the effect of high variability training depends on the perceptual aptitude of participants (Perrachione, Lee, Ha, & Wong, 2011; Sadakata & McQueen, 2014). The present study extends these findings by examining the interaction between individual aptitude and input variability using natural, meaningful L2 input (both previous studies used pseudowords). Sixty English speakers took part in an eight session phonetic training paradigm. They were assigned to high/low/high-blocking variability training groups and learned real Mandarin tones and words. Individual aptitude was measured following previous work. Learning was measured using one discrimination task, one identification task and two production tasks. All tasks assessed the generalisation of learning. Overall, all groups improved in both production and perception of tones which transferred to novel voices and items, demonstrating the effectiveness of training despite the increased complexity compared with previous research. Although the low variability group exhibited an advantage with the training stimuli, there was no evidence that the different variability training led to different performance in any of the tests of generalisation. Moreover, although aptitude significantly predicted performance in discrimination, identification and training tasks, no interaction between individual aptitude and variability was revealed. We discuss these results in light of previous findings.

Type: Article
Title: The effects of high versus low talker variability and individual aptitude on phonetic training of Mandarin lexical tones
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.27063
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27063
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 Dong et al. Licence This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Keywords: L2 phonetic contrasts, Phonetic training, Lexical tone learning, Second language
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055543
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