Perception of American English consonants /v/ and /w/ by Hindi speakers of English
This study examined perception of the American English (AE) /v/-/w/ consonant contrast by Hindi speakers of English as a second language (L2). A second aim was to determine whether residence in the US modulated perception of this difficult contrast for proficient bilingual Hindi-English listeners. Two groups of Hindi-English bilinguals (the first resided in the US for more than five years, the second lived in India) and a group of AE-speaking listeners participated in the study. Listeners’ identification and discrimination of nonsense words (e.g., “vagag” vs. “wagag”) were examined. Hindi listeners performed significantly less accurately than AE controls. Accuracy by Hindi listeners was near chance for identification and higher-than-chance for discrimination. Exposure to AE in the US did not improve performance. These results are consistent with previous studies of late L2 learners and extend findings to a population that was proficient in an L2 before arriving in the L2 environment.
Keywords: speech perception, Hindi, Bilingualism, length of residence
Published online: 11 March 2021
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