The influence of lexical characteristics and talker accent on the recognition of English words by speakers of Japanese

Kiyoko Yoneyama, Benjamin Munson

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Whether or not the influence of listeners' language proficiency on L2 speech recognition was affected by the structure of the lexicon was examined. This specific experiment examined the effect of word frequency (WF) and phonological neighborhood density (PND) on word recognition in native speakers of English and second-language (L2) speakers of English whose first language was Japanese. The stimuli included English words produced by a native speaker of English and English words produced by a native speaker of Japanese (i.e., with Japanese-accented English). The experiment was inspired by the finding of Imai, Flege, and Walley [(2005). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 117, 896-907] that the influence of talker accent on speech intelligibility for L2 learners of English whose L1 is Spanish varies as a function of words' PND. In the currently study, significant interactions between stimulus accentedness and listener group on the accuracy and speed of spoken word recognition were found, as were significant effects of PND and WF on word-recognition accuracy. However, no significant three-way interaction among stimulus talker, listener group, and PND on either measure was found. Results are discussed in light of recent findings on cross-linguistic differences in the nature of the effects of PND on L2 phonological and lexical processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1320
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is an elaborated version of a project that was first presented at the International Phonetics and Phonology Forum held in Kobe, Japan, August 26 and 27, 2009. We thank Sho Haraguchi and other organizing committee members who invited us for a talk at the forum. We further thank Takashi Otake, chair of our session at the Forum, for valuable comments on an earlier version of the paper. We thank the reviewers of an earlier version of this paper for their comments and suggestions, including some wording suggestions that were incorporated verbatim into this version. We thank Kari Urberg-Carlson and Celina Marnie for testing participants in Minnesota, and people who participated in the study in Twin Cities and Tokyo. We thank Kari Urberg-Carlson and Chiaki Soma for producing the stimuli. This study was partly supported by JSPS Grant-in-Aid Nos. 18720110, 23520524, and 26370508 to K.Y., and by NSF Grant No. BCS-0729277 to B.M.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Acoustical Society of America.


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