Convergence towards a surrounding speaker plays an important role in language acquisition in nature. It is also observed under a lab setting, and has been explored using listening or shadowing experiments in previous literature. The current study tests whether these two types of tasks cause different consequences. 16 Japanese English learners participated in either a listening or shadowing experiment, and imitated an American English speaker. Their productions of /p/ and /ɑ/ were acoustically analysed. Our statistical results suggest that a shadowing group imitates the model stimuli better with respect to /p/ than a listening group, whereas a listening group converges towards the model speaker further in relation to /ɑ/ than a shadowing group. This may be interpreted to mean that speech production is not only influenced by recently stored exemplars but also “awareness” of non-native speech sounds.
This article reports the results of an investigation into the phonetic correlates of the tonal inventory of the Mandarin dialect of Èzhōu. Our study focuses on the reflexes of the Middle Chinese (MC) qù (falling) tone, which has split into upper and lower-register rising tones in Èzhōu. This split as well as a distinct reflex for the MC entering (checked syllable) tone were identified by Chao et al. (1948) as defining characteristics of the Chǔyǔ dialects located in the southeastern region of the Mandarin speaking area.
This study investigates whether phonological short-term memory (PSTM) as a language learning aptitude can predict the second language (L2) pronunciation skills of Japanese students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This study examines the effects of PSTM on a large sample of non-Indo-European language speakers, considers both verbal and acoustic aspects of PSTM, and employs L2 pronunciation variables focusing on sound reproduction skills by excluding the effects of L2 vocabulary and grammar knowledge. A total of 215 students participated in this study, and the results show that PSTM has significant positive effects on L2 sound reproduction skills.