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ERIC Number: ED533505
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 164
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-6272-9
Perception of Canadian-French Word-Final Vowels in Lexical and Morphosyntactic Minimal Pairs by Canadian English Learners of French
Law, Franzo II
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, City University of New York
This study investigated the perception of Canadian French word-final vowels by English-dominant and French-dominant bilinguals living in Montreal. In a modified identification task, listeners selected the response that rhymed with the target word, embedded in a carrier sentence. Minimal sets of real and nonsense target words were used, contrasting in word-final vowel /i, e,epsilon, a, o, u, y, o/ preceded by labial, coronal and back stop consonants and /R/, as well as morphosyntactic verb minimal pairs contrasting in word-final /e-epsilon/ following /R/ (e.g., "parlerai" "I will talk" v. "parlerais" "I would talk"). Differences in accuracy and speed for identifying experimental vowels /e, epsilon, o, u, y, o/ were investigated, relative to control vowels /i, a/, expected to be easiest and fastest to identify by both groups. Of interest was performance on front-rounded vowels /y, o/, which are non-phonemic in English, and /e-epsilon/, which are phonologically contrastive in both languages, but /epsilon/ is disallowed word-finally in English. Both groups were highly accurate in identifying experimental vowels, although the French-dominant group was comparatively more accurate and faster. For the English-dominant group, overall accuracy correlated with participants' perceived accentedness and fluency in French. The French-dominant group was more accurate than the English-dominant group in identifying /e--epsilon/ in both lexical and morphological tokens. The English-dominant group was slower than the French-dominant group in identifying /y/ and /e/. Mouse cursor movements were captured trial-by-trial to analyze online perceptual processing. For instance, mouse track patterns of both groups was less-direct when identifying /y/, and participants of both groups often moved the cursor towards the response button for /u/ before correctly identifying /y/. The findings in this study contribute to the understanding of phonological processing by bilinguals, in exploring automaticity in vowel perception relative to language dominance. The fast, accurate perception of /o/ by English-dominant participants is evidence of the development and stability in perception of this phoneme. The English-dominant group demonstrated less-automatic perception of most experimental vowels. However, even performance speed and mouse patterns of the French-dominant group varied among native vowel categories, implying possible interactions between automaticity and auditory salience of particular vowel contrasts. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada