ASA 130th Meeting - St. Louis, MO - 1995 Nov 27 .. Dec 01

2aSC13. Improvements in the perception of American English vowels by Brazilian bilinguals.

Marialice Szpigel

Dept. Speech, Communication Sciences, & Theatre, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, NY 11439

Fredericka Bell-Berti

St. John's Univ., Jamaica, NY 11439

, and Haskins Labs., New Haven, CT 06511

Brazilians who are fluent in English have more difficulty perceiving American English vowels than consonants. This study examines vowel perception by eight native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese at the beginning and again at the end of their sixth year of study of American English (at the Instituto Brasil--Estados Unidos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). At this level, at students are able to speak English fluently, but with varying degrees of proficiency; the subjects had different levels of English proficiency at the beginning of the study. Their perceptions of American English vowels (produced by a native speaker of American English) will be compared at the beginning and end of the study, and will also be compared to the reported perception of American English vowels [G. Peterson and H. Barney, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 39, 151--184 (1952)]. Changes in the students' productions of seven American English vowels over the course of the year will also be examined. [Work supported by St. John's University and by NIH Grant DC-00121 to the Haskins Laboratories.]