Development of non-native vowel discrimination: Improvement without exposure.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The present study tested Japanese 4.5- and 10-month old infants' ability to discriminate three German vowel pairs, none of which are contrastive in Japanese, using a visual habituation-dishabituation paradigm. Japanese adults' discrimination of the same pairs was also tested. The results revealed that Japanese 4.5-month old infants discriminated the German /bu:k/-/by:k/ contrast, but they showed no evidence of discriminating the /bi:k/-/be:k/ or /bu:k/-/bo:k/ contrasts. Japanese 10-month old infants, on the other hand, discriminated the German /bi:k/-/be:k/ contrast, while they showed no evidence of discriminating the /bu:k/-/by:k/ or /bu:k/-/bo:k/ contrasts. Japanese adults, in contrast, were highly accurate in their discrimination of all of the pairs. The results indicate that discrimination of non-native contrasts is not always easy even for young infants, and that their ability to discriminate non-native contrasts can improve with age even when they receive no exposure to a language in which the given contrast is phonemic.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mazuka, R; Hasegawa, M; Tsuji, S

Published Date

  • February 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 192 - 209

PubMed ID

  • 24374789

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-2302

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-1630

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/dev.21193


  • eng