Second-language learners' identification of target-language phonemes: A short-term phonetic training study

Juli Cebrian, Angelica Carlet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des langues vivantes,. This study examined the effect of short-term high-variability phonetic training on the perception of English/b/,/v/,/d/,/o/,/æ/,/ ∧/,/i/, and/I/ by Catalan/Spanish bilinguals learning English as a foreign language. Sixteen English-major undergraduates were tested before and after undergoing a four-session perceptual training program involving a series of discrimination and identification tasks. Although some scores were already high at pre-test, there was improvement from pre-test to post-test, and this improvement generalized to novel words and a novel talker. An effect of word frequency was observed, but this effect was found to decrease after training. The results show that relatively advanced foreign-language learners in an instructional setting may improve in perception as a result of short-term high-variability phonetic training. The implications of these findings for the teaching of pronunciation are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-499
JournalCanadian Modern Language Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Perception
  • Phonetic training
  • Pronunciation
  • Second-language speech
  • Segmental contrasts


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