ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4pSP8. Effect of extended training on /r/ and /l/ identification by native speakers of Japanese.

Reiko A. Yamada

ATR Human Information Processing Res. Labs., Kyoto, 619-02 Japan

It has been reported (1) that being exposed to the American English (AE) speaking environment in adulthood has less of an effect on the perception of AE /r/ and /l/ sounds for native speakers of Japanese than experience at younger ages, and (2) that laboratory training of those sounds on adult-Japanese has little effect. Recently, however, Logan et al. [J. S. Logan et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 89, 874--886 (1991)] and Lively et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (1993)] showed that identification training with natural tokens produced by multiple talkers was effective in improving Japanese listeners ability to identify /r/ and /l/. In the present paper, the effect of extended training was examined. Subjects were adult native speakers of Japanese with no experience in living abroad. The training procedure was identical to Lively et al.'s procedure, except that subjects were trained for 45 sessions and were given two midterm tests. The results showed that (1) most of the subjects, even those whose score was around 60% in the pre-test, improved to more than 85% correct in the post-test, (2) some of the subjects kept improving throughout the 45 training sessions, while the others met asymptote with less training, and (3) the training effect in all the subjects generalized to the identification of new words produced by both familiar and unfamiliar talkers. The results are discussed in the context of recent theories of perceptual learning and development of phonological categories. [Work supported by ATR.]