Patterns of acoustic variance in native and non-native phonemes: The case of Japanese production of /r/ and /l/
Acoustic measures were obtained from productions of word-initial and word-final /r/ and /l/ in different vowel contexts (/i/, /a/, and /u/) by six native English Speakers (ES) and six native Japanese Speakers (JS). JS productions of the Japanese rhotic flap were also obtained in the same vowel contexts. F1, F2, and F3 were measured at vowel midpoint, at utterance onset for word-initial stimuli, and at utterance offset for word-final stimuli. For word-initial /r/-/l/, ES productions were distinguished solely by F3, whereas JS productions varied on both F2 and F3. For the word-final contrast, ES and some JS productions showed structured variation in both F2 and F3, whereas many JS productions showed no consonant-dependent variation in these measures. F2 and F3 measures of the Japanese flap (word-initial only) substantially overlapped the /r/-/l/ distributions for ES and JS. In addition, JS productions of /r/ and /l/ and the flap showed significant effects of context vowel with coarticulatory variations in F2 and F3. In contrast, ES productions showed little context-dependent F3 variance. The results suggest that JS difficulties in producing intelligible English liquids may be due to a mismatch between the acoustic variance that is informative for similar phonemes in the two languages.
Acoustical Society of America Journal
- Pub Date:
- October 2003