Adaptation to L3 phonology? Perception of the Japanese consonant length contrast by learners of Italian

Kimiko Tsukada, John Hajek

Friday, December 16th, 2022, 2.15pm – 2.45pm


Both Italian and Japanese use consonant length contrastively, but length contrast is known to be difficult for non-native speakers. The perception of Japanese singleton/geminate contrasts by learners of Italian from American English and Argentinian Spanish backgrounds was compared to determine if learning Italian may be helpful for processing known contrasts in an unknown language. The two groups did not differ significantly and both groups discriminated length contrasts more accurately when alveolar geminate [t:] (rather than velar singleton [k]) occurred in the target position. The results suggest that knowledge of Italian may not automatically guarantee adaptation to Japanese length processing.