Do we learn from our mistakes? The effects of communication disruptions on the production-perception link in L2 sound learning.

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This study investigates the effects of communication disruptions on L2 sound learning. Specifically, it investigates whether implicit negative feedback on the L2 learner’s production lead to adaptations in the L2 production and perception of problematic non-native sounds. German speakers of English were tested on their production and perception of two American English sound contrasts known to be difficult for the population: the /æ/-/ɛ/ vowel contrast and the word-final /t/-/d/ contrast. Their production and perception of these four sounds were assessed in a pre-post-test design. In between the pre- and post-test, participants interacted with a confederate, who they thought was a native American English speaker, in a cooperative computer-based task. During this interaction, they received negative feedback on their production of either the vowel or the word-final consonant contrast. Results showed that learning effects do not cross over to the perceptual domain, indicating that interactional production feedback does not lead to adaptations of the perceptual representations of the four difficult sounds. Disruptions in communication can raise the awareness for the difference between two contrasting sounds in the production domain, as Germans showed more native-like productions of these sounds in the post-test. However, whether the improved L2 productions are related to the type of sound contrast addressed in the interlocutor’s feedback depends on the degree of difficulty of the respective sound contrast. Keywords: second language acquisition (SLA), sound learning, speech perception, speech production, ventriloquist paradigm
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen