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Perception of English Vowels By Korean Learners: Comparisons between New and Similar L2 Vowel Categories

한국인 학습자의 영어 모음 인지: 새로운 L2 모음 범주와 비슷한 L2 모음 범주의 비교

  • 이계윤 (경기대학교 영어영문학과) ;
  • 초미희 (경기대학교 영어영문학과)
  • Received : 2015.06.19
  • Accepted : 2015.07.29
  • Published : 2015.08.28

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate how Korean learners perceive English vowels and further to test SLM which claims that new L2 vowel categories are more easily acquired than similar L2 vowel categories. Twenty Korean learners participated in English-to-Korean mapping test and English vowel identification test with target vowels /i, ɪ, u, ʊ, ɛ, æ/. The result revealed that Korean participants mapped the English pairs /i/-/ɪ/ and /u/-/ʊ/ onto single Korean vowel /i/ and /u/, respectively. in addition, both of English /ɛ/ and /æ/ were simultaneously mapped onto Korean /e/ and /ɛ/. This indicated that the Korean participants seemed to have perceptual difficulty for the pairs /i-ɪ/, /u-ʊ/, and /ɛ-æ/. The result of the forced-choice identification test showed that the accuracy of /ɪ, ʊ, æ/(ɪ: 81.3%, ʊ: 62.5%, æ: 60.0%) was significantly higher than that of /i, u, ɛ/(i: 28,8%, u: 28.8%, ɛ: 32.4%). Thus, the claim of SLM is confirmed given that /ɪ, ʊ, æ/ are new vowel categories whereas /i, u, ɛ/ are similar vowel categories. Further, the conspicuously low accuracy of the similar L2 vowel categories /i, u, ɛ/ was accounted for by over-generalization whereby the Korean participants excessively replaced L2 similar /i, u, ɛ/ with L2 new /ɪ, ʊ, æ/ as the participants were learning the L2 new vowel categories in the process of acquisition. Based on the findings this study, pedagogical suggestions are provided.

Keywords

Vowel Perception;PAM;SLM;New/Similar Phonemes;Learning Pattern;L2 Vowel Acquisition

Acknowledgement

Supported by : 경기대학교 대학원

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