Zhou, Alexis; Dmitrieva, Olga; and Olson, Daniel J., "The effect of allophonic variability on L2 contrast perception: Evidence from perception of English vowels" (2022). Purdue University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund. Paper 37.
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Current frameworks of L2 phonetic acquisition remain largely underspecified with respect to the role of L1 allophonic variability in acquisition. Examining the role of L1 allophonic variability, the current study compared the perceptual discrimination of English /i-I/ and /E-æ/ by L1 Korean and L1 Mandarin speakers. Korean and Mandarin vowel inventories differ in that Mandarin employs significantly greater allophonic variation of the mid-region /E/ vowel. Results demonstrated worse perceptual accuracy by L1 Mandarin speakers for the /E-æ/ contrast than L1 Korean speakers. These results suggest that both L1 phonemic inventories and allophonic variation play a role in L2 phonetic acquisition.