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Aspiration in Japanese Speakers' English: A study of the acquisition of new phonetic categories in a second language
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study aims to explore if it is possible to form separate categories of aspirated voiceless stops in a second language, distinct from the equivalent categories in the native language, for native speakers of a language with an intermediate degree of aspiration, and if such category formation is eased by long-term exposure to another language in which aspirated voiceless stops exist. Two groups of adult native Japanese speakers who had lived in Sweden for a long and short time respectively were recorded when reading a list of sentences containing word-initial, utterance-medial /p t k/ in Japanese and English. Both groups produced higher VOT values for the English stops than for the Japanese stops. The results were significant for /t/ and /k/ and for the long-term residents' /p/, but not for the short-term residents' /p/, presumably because of a low number of tokens. The results are nevertheless interpreted as evident of the possibility of phonetic category formation even though there is only a small difference from the corresponding category in the native language. Since both groups had established new phonetic categories, degree of exposure to Swedish is interpreted as likely not to be a relevant factor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 21 p.
Keyword [en]
Japanese, English, second language acquisition, aspiration, voice onset time, phonetic category, long-term exposure effects, voiceless plosives
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-58417OAI: diva2:420586
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-08-18 Created: 2011-06-02 Last updated: 2011-08-18Bibliographically approved

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Ekelund, Martin
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