I attended the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) 2017 conference in Portland, Oregon, in March. I presented my research entitled Cross-language discrimination of Korean consonants.
My presentation provides a cross-linguistic perceptual test of Korean consonants by ten native speakers each of Chinese, English, and Korean. The study examines the misperception or insensitivity to native language perception and the relative influence of phonetic, phonemic, and acoustic factors on people’s perceptual ability, depending on their native language. I found in the research that Chinese and English listeners discriminated voiceless and voiced sounds based on the Voice Onset Time (VOT) lengths for stimuli with the same vowel. However, Korean listeners didn’t show VOT length effect on the voicing contrast, identifying most stimuli to be the same. For stimuli with a different vowel, Korean listeners identified most stimuli as the same whereas Chinese and English listeners identified most stimuli as different. These results suggest that non-native listeners are more sensitive in perceiving the voicing contrast of Korean obstruents than native listeners. Furthermore, listeners rely more on their phonemic knowledge than phonetic familiarity in their perception. I emphasized that the language teachers’ awareness of their potential insensitivity to their native language perception can help provide a deeper understanding of foreign learners’ different perceptions of the target language.
I am always deeply grateful to the BLC for providing funding me to attend conferences. Thank you very much again for your financial support, BLC!