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Title: The role of talker similarity in the perceptual learning of L2 tone categories
Authors: Shao, J 
Mak, CY 
Zhang, C 
Issue Date: 2017
Source: In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. J. Davelaar (Eds.), CogSci 2017 Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, London, UK, 26-29 July 2017, p. 3125-3130. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 2017
Abstract: Different hypotheses were proposed concerning the role of talker variability in lexical learning. It remains unclear whether new phonetic categories are acquired as episodic memory traces with talkers’ voice information preserved or as abstract categories. The current study investigated the role of voice similarity in perceptual learning of Cantonese tones. Six high-variability training sessions were given to 12 Mandarin speakers. Voice similarity was controlled in the training and pre-and posttests. Results indicate that the training positively transferred to both similar and dissimilar talkers. However, in the pretest, the performance was not significantly different between similar and dissimilar voices, whereas significant better performance was found in the similar voices in the posttest. These results suggest that learners retained speakers’ information in the learning process and made use of such information for future perception. This implies that lexical tones are probably encoded episodically in the mental representation of Mandarin L2 learners.
Keywords: Talker similarity
high variability training
Cantonese lexical tones
Mandarin leaners of Cantonese
Mental representation
Publisher: Cognitive Science Society
ISBN: 978-0-9911967-6-0
Rights: Posted with the permission of the author
Appears in Collections:Conference Paper

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