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Journal Article

High stimulus variability in nonnative speech learning supports formation of abstract categories: Evidence from Japanese geminates

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons122

McQueen,  James M.
Language Comprehension Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour;
Radboud University;

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JAS001324.pdf
(Publisher version), 665KB

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Citation

Sadakata, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). High stimulus variability in nonnative speech learning supports formation of abstract categories: Evidence from Japanese geminates. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(2), 1324-1335. doi:10.1121/1.4812767.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-A774-B
Abstract
This study reports effects of a high-variability training procedure on nonnative learning of a Japanese geminate-singleton fricative contrast. Thirty native speakers of Dutch took part in a 5-day training procedure in which they identified geminate and singleton variants of the Japanese fricative /s/. Participants were trained with either many repetitions of a limited set of words recorded by a single speaker (low-variability training) or with fewer repetitions of a more variable set of words recorded by multiple speakers (high-variability training). Both types of training enhanced identification of speech but not of nonspeech materials, indicating that learning was domain specific. High-variability training led to superior performance in identification but not in discrimination tests, and supported better generalization of learning as shown by transfer from the trained fricatives to the identification of untrained stops and affricates. Variability thus helps nonnative listeners to form abstract categories rather than to enhance early acoustic analysis.