Training of the English /r/ and /l/ speech contrasts in Korean listeners
AbstractNative speakers of Korean have particular difficulty with the distinction between English /r/ and /l/ contrasts (e.g., Borden, Gerber & Milsark, 1983). While English has two separate labels for the sounds we call /r/ and /l/, the Korean language groups both such sounds into a single category. The Korean /r/ tends only to occur intervocalically and it occurs in the form of a rhotic flap which is articulated with the tip of the tongue making a quick flipping contact against the alveolar ridge (Pyun, 1987). The Korean /l/ sound occurs only postvocalically, and only in a `light' form (Borden, et al., 1983). Korean orthography does not distinguish these sounds (i.e., these sounds do not constitute a phonemic contrast; Borden, et al., 1983). The Korean listener may therefore be unable to hear the difference between the English /r/ and /l/ sounds. In the present study we sought (1) to measure the abilities of young, adult, native Korean speakers to discriminate between the English /r/ and /l/ speech contrasts; and (2) to evaluate the possibilities that these listeners could be taught this perceptual skill using procedures similar to those used by Logan, Lively and Pisoni (1991)
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