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THE USE OF PROSODIC CUES IN LEARNING NEW WORDS IN AN UNFAMILIAR LANGUAGE

  • Sahyang Kim (a1), Mirjam Broersma (a2) and Taehong Cho (a3)
Abstract

The artificial language learning paradigm was used to investigate to what extent the use of prosodic features is universally applicable or specifically language driven in learning an unfamiliar language, and how nonnative prosodic patterns can be learned. Listeners of unrelated languages—Dutch (n = 100) and Korean (n = 100)—participated. The words to be learned varied with prosodic cues: no prosody, fundamental frequency (F0) rise in initial and final position, final lengthening, and final lengthening plus F0 rise. Both listener groups performed well above chance level with the final lengthening cue, confirming its crosslinguistic use. As for final F0 rise, however, Dutch listeners did not use it until the second exposure session, whereas Korean listeners used it at initial exposure. Neither group used initial F0 rise. On the basis of these results, F0 and durational cues appear to be universal in the sense that they are used across languages for their universally applicable auditory-perceptual saliency, but how they are used is language specific and constrains the use of available prosodic cues in processing a nonnative language. A discussion on how these findings bear on theories of second language (L2) speech perception and learning is provided.

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Corresponding author
*Address correspondence to: Taehong Cho, Hanyang Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Lab, Department of English Language and Literature, Hanyang University, Haengdang-dong 17, Seongdong-gu, Seoul (133-791), Korea; e-mail: tcho@hanyang.ac.kr.
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