High or low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10547/622117
Title:
High or low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners
Authors:
Giannakopoulou, Anastasia; Brown, Helen; Clayards, Meghan; Wonnacott, Elizabeth
Abstract:
Background: High talker variability (i.e., multiple voices in the input) has been found effective in training nonnative phonetic contrasts in adults. A small number of studies suggest that children also benefit from high-variability phonetic training with some evidence that they show greater learning (more plasticity) than adults given matched input, although results are mixed. However, no study has directly compared the effectiveness of high versus low talker variability in children. Methods: Native Greek-speaking eight-year-olds (N = 52), and adults (N = 41) were exposed to the English /i/-/I/ contrast in 10 training sessions through a computerized word-learning game. Pre- and post-training tests examined discrimination of the contrast as well as lexical learning. Participants were randomly assigned to high (four talkers) or low (one talker) variability training conditions. Results: Both age groups improved during training, and both improved more while trained with a single talker. Results of a three-interval oddity discrimination test did not show the predicted benefit of high-variability training in either age group. Instead, children showed an effect in the reverse direction—i.e., reliably greater improvements in discrimination following single talker training, even for untrained generalization items, although the result is qualified by (accidental) differences between participant groups at pre-test. Adults showed a numeric advantage for high-variability but were inconsistent with respect to voice and word novelty. In addition, no effect of variability was found for lexical learning. There was no evidence of greater plasticity for phonetic learning in child learners. Discussion: This paper adds to the handful of studies demonstrating that, like adults, child learners can improve their discrimination of a phonetic contrast via computerized training. There was no evidence of a benefit of training with multiple talkers, either for discrimination or word learning. The results also do not support the findings of greater plasticity in child learners found in a previous paper (Giannakopoulou, Uther & Ylinen, 2013a). We discuss these results in terms of various differences between training and test tasks used in the current work compared with previous literature.
Affiliation:
University of Bedfordshire; University of Warwick; McGill University; University College London
Citation:
Giannakopoulou, A., Brown, H., Clayards, M., Wonnacott, E. (2017) 'High or low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners', PeerJ, 5 (e3209).
Publisher:
PeerJ
Journal:
PeerJ
Issue Date:
30-May-2017
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10547/622117
DOI:
10.7717/peerj.3209
Additional Links:
https://peerj.com/articles/3209.pdf
Type:
Article
Language:
en
ISSN:
2167-8359
Sponsors:
British Academy Small grant (SG111965) Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K013637/2)
Appears in Collections:
Psychology

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorGiannakopoulou, Anastasiaen
dc.contributor.authorBrown, Helenen
dc.contributor.authorClayards, Meghanen
dc.contributor.authorWonnacott, Elizabethen
dc.date.accessioned2017-06-05T11:12:32Z-
dc.date.available2017-06-05T11:12:32Z-
dc.date.issued2017-05-30-
dc.identifier.citationGiannakopoulou, A., Brown, H., Clayards, M., Wonnacott, E. (2017) 'High or low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners', PeerJ, 5 (e3209).en
dc.identifier.issn2167-8359-
dc.identifier.doi10.7717/peerj.3209-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10547/622117-
dc.description.abstractBackground: High talker variability (i.e., multiple voices in the input) has been found effective in training nonnative phonetic contrasts in adults. A small number of studies suggest that children also benefit from high-variability phonetic training with some evidence that they show greater learning (more plasticity) than adults given matched input, although results are mixed. However, no study has directly compared the effectiveness of high versus low talker variability in children. Methods: Native Greek-speaking eight-year-olds (N = 52), and adults (N = 41) were exposed to the English /i/-/I/ contrast in 10 training sessions through a computerized word-learning game. Pre- and post-training tests examined discrimination of the contrast as well as lexical learning. Participants were randomly assigned to high (four talkers) or low (one talker) variability training conditions. Results: Both age groups improved during training, and both improved more while trained with a single talker. Results of a three-interval oddity discrimination test did not show the predicted benefit of high-variability training in either age group. Instead, children showed an effect in the reverse direction—i.e., reliably greater improvements in discrimination following single talker training, even for untrained generalization items, although the result is qualified by (accidental) differences between participant groups at pre-test. Adults showed a numeric advantage for high-variability but were inconsistent with respect to voice and word novelty. In addition, no effect of variability was found for lexical learning. There was no evidence of greater plasticity for phonetic learning in child learners. Discussion: This paper adds to the handful of studies demonstrating that, like adults, child learners can improve their discrimination of a phonetic contrast via computerized training. There was no evidence of a benefit of training with multiple talkers, either for discrimination or word learning. The results also do not support the findings of greater plasticity in child learners found in a previous paper (Giannakopoulou, Uther & Ylinen, 2013a). We discuss these results in terms of various differences between training and test tasks used in the current work compared with previous literature.en
dc.description.sponsorshipBritish Academy Small grant (SG111965) Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K013637/2)en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherPeerJen
dc.relation.urlhttps://peerj.com/articles/3209.pdfen
dc.rightsGreen - can archive pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF-
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/*
dc.subjecthigh-variability perceptual trainingen
dc.subjectchild second language learningen
dc.subjectL2 phonetic contrastsen
dc.subjectsecond languageen
dc.subjectphonetic trainingen
dc.subjectadult second language learningen
dc.subjectQ110 Applied Linguisticsen
dc.titleHigh or low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learnersen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Bedfordshireen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Warwicken
dc.contributor.departmentMcGill Universityen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity College Londonen
dc.identifier.journalPeerJen
dc.date.updated2017-06-05T10:58:00Z-
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