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A reliable past or a reliable pest? Testing canonical stimuli in speech perception research

Jones, Johnathan; (2022) A reliable past or a reliable pest? Testing canonical stimuli in speech perception research. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

A growing body of research is exploring second language (L2) learners’ listening perception of vowel contrasts. Conventionally, researchers have estimated how well listeners differentiate between L2 vowels with isolated words (or syllables) in a fixed consonantal frame, such as b-vowel-t (e.g., beat-bit). However, there is a dearth of research that systematically examines how well results generalise beyond isolated frames or the suitability of employing more phonologically and sententially diverse listening prompt types for assessing L2 vowel perception. To address this gap, two studies investigated the effects of using b-vowel-t and more diverse prompt types for assessing intermediate-advanced adult L2 perception of English /i/-/ɪ/ and /ɛ/-/æ/ vowel pairs. Prompt performance was measured for internal consistency, congruence with the Perceptual Assimilation Model for L2 speech learning (Best & Tyler, 2007), and listeners’ subjective experiences with each prompt type. Mixed effects modelling investigated the predictive power of b-vowel-t performance on more diverse prompt types. Study 1 explored prompt performance using closed-set, forced choice tasks with first language (L1) Mandarin and Korean listeners. Study 2 investigated the effect of Mandarin and Spanish L1 listeners’ target word familiarity and associations with sentence prompts using transcription-response tasks and self-report surveys. Both studies found that diverse prompts had adequate internal consistency and aligned with PAM-L2 predictions. B-vowel-t prompts poorly generalised to diverse prompts and accorded less with PAM-L2 predictions. Survey results showed increased demands from more diverse prompt types based on participants’ ratings; however, this did not always correspond to lower performance. Collectively, results indicate utility in employing prompts beyond isolated words in a fixed consonantal frame for laboratory and at-home administrations. These findings contribute to the vowel perception literature by evaluating and extending the scope of prompts which may be used.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A reliable past or a reliable pest? Testing canonical stimuli in speech perception research
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150801
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