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Current Research

Crosslinguistic influence from L2 on L1 speech in Korean heritage speakers and long-term immigrants (PI: Yuhyeon Seo)

The project investigates the extent of L2 cross-linguistic influence in L1 phonetics and phonology among Korean heritage speakers and long-term immigrants in the US, in comparison to Korean-immersed native speakers in South Korea. While the two groups of bilinguals are English (L2) dominant, they differ in the degree of L2 cross-linguistic influence on their L1 speech perception and production. The study explores potential outcomes of L2 cross-linguistic influence in both L1 perception and production domains, such as merger, phonetic drift, assimilation, and more.

Production and perception of non-native clear speech (PI: Ye-Jee Jung)

This project examines whether non-native English speakers (L1 Korean) can adopt clear speech in compromised communication settings and whether their clear speech can benefit listeners. Even though acoustic modifications and the perceptual benefit of native clear speech are well-documented, little attention has been paid to clear speech produced by non-native speakers. However, given that speakers confront communicative barriers regardless of the languages they speak, this aspect of non-native speech is worth exploring. This project also aims to study a bidirectional transfer between one’s L1 and L2 clear speech strategies.

Testing the usefulness of authentic materials for training suprasegmental features: Evidence from L2 tone and pitch accent production (PI: Alexis Zhou)

The current study aims to explore the usefulness of authentic materials in a visual feedback paradigm for training L2 suprasegmental features. Two suprasegmental features will be targeted, L2 tone and L2 pitch accent, in Mandarin and Japanese respectively. The reported usefulness of authentic materials over traditional textbook materials has been mixed, and the majority of previous studies have focused on segmental features. The goal of this study is to test if authentic materials can be useful for L2 suprasegmental training over textbook materials, and if improvement is found, will it be generalizable across features.

The comprehensibility of Mandarin speakers’ productions in English: The correlation between comprehensibility ratings and acoustic properties of tense vs. lax Vowels (PI: Chien-Min Kuo)

This project examines Mandarin speakers’ productions in English, especially the correlation between the comprehensibility ratings on their English speech and the acoustic properties of their tense vs. lax vowels. In previous studies on comprehensibility, tense vs. lax vowels were not manipulated. It is necessary to investigate the relationship between comprehensibility and tense vs. lax vowel, because Mandarin speakers might have difficulties with English tense vs. lax vowel according to the Perceptual Assimilation Model, and comprehensibility could be affected by segmental features. It is hypothesized that there is a positive correlation between spectral difference and comprehensibility, and there is a positive correlation between durational contrast and comprehensibility.