The Impact of L2 Proficiency on Vowel Training

Janice W S Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


The present research aimed to investigate the effect of English proficiency level on Cantonese ESL learners’ learning of an English vowel contrast (namely, /e/ and /æ/) through a perception-based training paradigm called High Variability Phonetic Training (HVPT) which uses perceptual stimuli in multiple phonetic environments produced by various speakers (e.g. Logan, Lively & Pisoni, 1991). All subjects participated in both perception and production pretests and posttests. Twenty-two (9 high proficiency; 13 low proficiency) subjects were trained under 10 sessions of HVPT in which they had to identify /e/ and /æ/. Another 23 subjects (10 high proficiency; 13 low proficiency) served as control group. The results showed that exposing low and high proficiency learners to highly-variable natural stimuli can successfully train the perception of a non-native phonetic contrast. Transfer of perceptual learning to production and
generalization of learning were also observed. The results obtained suggest that L2 teachers should consider adopting similar training paradigms in classrooms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInvestigating English Pronunciation
Subtitle of host publicationTrends and Directions
EditorsJose A. Mompean, Jonás Fouz-González
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781137509437
ISBN (Print)9781137509420, 9781349564064
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Speech perception and production
  • vowel training
  • second language acquisition
  • High Variability Phonetic Training


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