Pseudo-homophony in non-native listening
InJournal of the Acoustical Society of America, pp. 2392
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SW OZ DCC CO
SW OZ NICI CO
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Pseudo-homophony may result when non-native listeners cannot distinguish phonemic contrasts. Thus Dutch listeners have difficulty distinguishing the vowels of English cattle versus kettle, because this contrast is subsumed by a single Dutch vowel category; in consequence, both words may be activated whenever either is heard. A lexical decision study in English explored this phenomenon by testing for repetition priming. The materials contained amoung 340 items 18 pairs such as cattle/kettle, i.e., contrasting only in those vowels, and 18 pairs contrasting only in r/l (e.g., right/light). These materials, spoken by a native American English speaker, were presented to fluent non-native speakers of English, 48 Dutch Nijmegen University students, and 48 Japanese Dokkyo University students; the listeners performed lexical decision on each spoken item, and response time was measured. Dutch listeners responded significantly faster to one member of a cattle/kettle pair after having heard the other member earlier in the list (compared with having heard a control word), suggesting that both word had been activated whichever had been heard. Japanese listeners, however, showed no such priming for cattle/kettle words, but did show repetition priming across r/l pairs such as right/light . Non-native listeners' phonemic discrimination difficulties thus generate pseudo-homophony.
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