Vita V. Kogan, BA, MA, MSc

Individual Differences in L1 Perception and its Effects on Perceptual Discrimination of Non-Native Vowel Contrasts

Betreuung: Joan C. Mora, Susanne Reiterer
Zeitraum: 2016-2018

My project investigates individual differences in L1 perception. I hypothesize that individuals with a shared L1 vary in how their native phonemic categories are represented in the perceptual space. Such differences in L1 systems, although do not influence L1 perception, might have effects on L2 perception. To test this hypothesis, I investigate how Spanish monolinguals vary in their ability to perceive their native vowels and a novel nonnative contrast that does not exist in Spanish – Russian /i - ɨ/.
My predictions are as follow: 1) Some individuals have a broader distribution of the exemplars within a single L1 category (less compact/more variable category) and some have a tighter distribution (more compact/less variable). 2) The degree of compactness of L1 categories has an impact on the perceptual accuracy of foreign contrasts. Listeners with more compact/less variable categories will perceive some L2 vowels better than listeners with less compact/more variable representations.