Charles Chang (Boston University)

FEB 06, 2020 | 4:15 PM TO 6:15 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




February 06, 2020: 4:15 PM-6:15 PM




Charles Chang (Boston University) presents: 

L3 perception as a window onto similarity and timing effects in acquisition

In this talk, I will report on a study examining the role of acquisition order and crosslinguistic similarity in influencing language transfer during third language (L3) perceptual learning. Adult sequential bilinguals representing three different first (L1) and second language (L2) backgrounds (L1 Mandarin-L2 English, L1 English-L2 Mandarin, and L1 English-L2 intonational/non-tonal) were tested on their perception of tones from two different unfamiliar L3s (Yoruba and Thai) in discrimination and similarity rating tasks. Overall, the results suggest that L1 tonal experience has a particularly facilitative effect in L3 tone perception, but there is also a facilitative effect of L2 tonal experience. Further, variation in discriminability shows no effect of typological similarity, but significant effects of crosslinguistic perceptual similarity between L1/L2 and L3 tones, as well as acoustic similarity between different L3 tones. I will discuss the implications of these findings for theoretical models of later language acquisition and nonnative speech perception.