ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

5pSC7. Testing the importance of talker variability in non-native speech contrast training.

James S. Magnuson

Reiko A. Yamada

Yoh'ichi Tohkura

ATR Human Info. Process. Labs., 2-2 Hikaridai, Seika-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto, 619-02, Japan

Ann R. Bradlow

Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN 47408

In contrast to results of training with stimuli produced by 5 talkers, Lively et al. [ 1242--1255 (1993)] reported that Japanese adults trained to perceive English /r/ and /l/ with stimuli produced by a single talker failed to improve from pretest to post-test, or to generalize to novel stimuli. That study was extended by training 5 groups of subjects each with a different talker, and by examining the retention of learning after 3 and 6 months. The previous results were partially replicated: Although all subjects showed significant learning during training, subjects in 3 of the 5 groups did not show significant improvement in a pretest--post-test comparison, did not generalize well to new stimuli, and did not show good retention in 3- and 6-month follow-up tests. Subjects in two of the five groups improved significantly from pretest to post-test, generalized well to new stimuli, and showed retention comparable to that of subjects trained with multiple talkers. The results indicate that while multiple-talker training leads to consistently good results, training with stimuli produced by only one talker may fail to promote generalization to new stimuli and talkers under certain conditions.