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J Acoust Soc Am. 2015 Aug;138(2):817-32. doi: 10.1121/1.4926561.

The effect of phonetic production training with visual feedback on the perception and production of foreign speech sounds.

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Laboratory of Experimental Psycholinguistics, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, 42 bd du Pont d'Arve, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland.
Neuroscience Department, Brain and Language Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Campus Biotech, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.


Second-language learners often experience major difficulties in producing non-native speech sounds. This paper introduces a training method that uses a real-time analysis of the acoustic properties of vowels produced by non-native speakers to provide them with immediate, trial-by-trial visual feedback about their articulation alongside that of the same vowels produced by native speakers. The Mahalanobis acoustic distance between non-native productions and target native acoustic spaces was used to assess L2 production accuracy. The experiment shows that 1 h of training per vowel improves the production of four non-native Danish vowels: the learners' productions were closer to the corresponding Danish target vowels after training. The production performance of a control group remained unchanged. Comparisons of pre- and post-training vowel discrimination performance in the experimental group showed improvements in perception. Correlational analyses of training-related changes in production and perception revealed no relationship. These results suggest, first, that this training method is effective in improving non-native vowel production. Second, training purely on production improves perception. Finally, it appears that improvements in production and perception do not systematically progress at equal rates within individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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