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Title: Perception and production of English vowels by Chilean learners of English : effect of auditory and visual modalities on phonetic training
Author: Pereira Reyes, Y. I.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 778X
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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The aim of this thesis was to examine the perception of English vowels by L2 learners of English with Spanish as L1 (Chilean-Spanish), and more specifically the degree to which they are able to take advantage of visual cues to vowel distinctions. Two main studies were conducted for this thesis. In study 1, data was collected from L2 beginners, L2 advanced learners and native speakers of Southern British English (ENS). Participants were tested on their perception of 11 English vowels in audio (A), audiovisual (AV) and video-alone (V) mode. ENS participants were tested to investigate whether visual cues are available to distinguish English vowels, while L2 participants were tested to see how sensitive they were to acoustic and visual cues for English vowels. Study 2 reports the outcome of a vowel training study. To compare the effect of different training modalities, three groups of L2 learners (beginner level) were given five sessions of high-variability vowel training in either A, AV or V mode. Perception and production of English vowels in isolated words and sentences was tested pre/post training, and the participants’ auditory frequency discrimination and visual bias was also evaluated. To examine the impact of perceptual training on L2 learners’ vowel production, recordings of key words embedded in read sentences were made pre and post-training. Acoustic-phonetic analyses were carried out on the vowels in the keywords. Additionally, the vowels were presented to native listeners in a rating test to judge whether the perceptual training resulted in significant improvement in intelligibility. In summary, the study with native English listeners showed that there was visual information available to distinguish at least certain English vowel contrasts. L2 learners showed low sensitivity to visual information. Their vowel perception improved after training, regardless of the training mode used, and perceptual training also led to improved vowel production. However, no improvement was found in their overall sensitivity to visual information.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available