English Vowel Duration Affected by Voicing Contrast In Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese


Learning a foreign language, especially to second language learners, comes with learning new phonetics contrasts. Adults often have difficulty in learning non-native vowels especially when the vowel inventories in their first and second language are different. This study describes the speech acquisition of English vowel in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese speakers, and addresses their problem of voicing dependent vowel duration by assessing how vowel quality is produced before voiced and voiceless consonants. A gating experiment was conducted to assess how reliably speakers can produce English monophthongs and diphthongs. To achieve this overarching purpose, three aims were addressed: (1) to identify the duration of English vowels of four subjects above, (2)to present an overview of the four languages divided in 3 groups: tonal, non-tonal, and pitch accented, (3) to investigate difference in subjects' acquisition of English vowel based on their language systems. Chinese, Vietnamese-L1 English learners (Group 1), whose L1 is tone languages and have no audible released codas, Korean-L1 English learners (Group 2), whose L1 has no vowel quantity distinction (VQD), and Japanese-L1 English learners (Group 3), whose L1 is pitch accented language, has aspirated codas and (has phonemic length contrast i.e. short and long) VQD, devoicing vowels. All three groups produced longer lengthening before voiced codas with monosyllabic words, however, they did not produce vowel lengthening before English voiced codas at disyllabic words, which was significantly different from English native speakers.

Author Information
Nguyen Van Anh Le, Sophia University, Japan
Mafuyu Kitahara, Sophia University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2020
Stream: Linguistics

This paper is part of the ACL2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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