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Article

The Role of Acoustic Similarity and Non-Native Categorisation in Predicting Non-Native Discrimination: Brazilian Portuguese Vowels by English vs. Spanish Listeners

1
Department of Linguistics, California State University, Fresno, CA 93740, USA
2
ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
3
Linguistics Department, University of Potsdam, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
4
The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW 2751, Australia
5
Department of Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
6
Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Languages 2021, 6(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010044
Received: 28 October 2020 / Revised: 13 February 2021 / Accepted: 18 February 2021 / Published: 5 March 2021
This study tests whether Australian English (AusE) and European Spanish (ES) listeners differ in their categorisation and discrimination of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) vowels. In particular, we investigate two theoretically relevant measures of vowel category overlap (acoustic vs. perceptual categorisation) as predictors of non-native discrimination difficulty. We also investigate whether the individual listener’s own native vowel productions predict non-native vowel perception better than group averages. The results showed comparable performance for AusE and ES participants in their perception of the BP vowels. In particular, discrimination patterns were largely dependent on contrast-specific learning scenarios, which were similar across AusE and ES. We also found that acoustic similarity between individuals’ own native productions and the BP stimuli were largely consistent with the participants’ patterns of non-native categorisation. Furthermore, the results indicated that both acoustic and perceptual overlap successfully predict discrimination performance. However, accuracy in discrimination was better explained by perceptual similarity for ES listeners and by acoustic similarity for AusE listeners. Interestingly, we also found that for ES listeners, the group averages explained discrimination accuracy better than predictions based on individual production data, but that the AusE group showed no difference. View Full-Text
Keywords: acoustic similarity; perceptual similarity; non-native discrimination; non-native categorisation acoustic similarity; perceptual similarity; non-native discrimination; non-native categorisation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Elvin, J.; Williams, D.; Shaw, J.A.; Best, C.T.; Escudero, P. The Role of Acoustic Similarity and Non-Native Categorisation in Predicting Non-Native Discrimination: Brazilian Portuguese Vowels by English vs. Spanish Listeners. Languages 2021, 6, 44. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010044

AMA Style

Elvin J, Williams D, Shaw JA, Best CT, Escudero P. The Role of Acoustic Similarity and Non-Native Categorisation in Predicting Non-Native Discrimination: Brazilian Portuguese Vowels by English vs. Spanish Listeners. Languages. 2021; 6(1):44. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010044

Chicago/Turabian Style

Elvin, Jaydene, Daniel Williams, Jason A. Shaw, Catherine T. Best, and Paola Escudero. 2021. "The Role of Acoustic Similarity and Non-Native Categorisation in Predicting Non-Native Discrimination: Brazilian Portuguese Vowels by English vs. Spanish Listeners" Languages 6, no. 1: 44. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010044

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