Welcome to Dr. Sunyoung Ahn, who will be a Visiting Researcher in the lab for 2018-19. Dr. Ahn’s areas of specialty are psycholinguistics and second language acquisition. She completed her PhD in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Maryland, and taught Korean as a second language for the past few years at Harvard University. During her visit, she will be working on research projects investigating L2 processing and production.
Prof. Chang is in Lisbon this week to present results on sound change in Korean fricatives (from collaborative work with Dr. Hae-Sung Jeon) in the Friday afternoon poster session at this week’s Conference on Laboratory Phonology. The title of the presentation is “Categorical ambiguity and sound change in Seoul Korean”.
Welcome to the six students who will be joining the lab this summer:
- Aspen Bombardo is a rising sophomore majoring in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Her interests are in language production and language learning, especially phonetic and phonological acquisition in learners of English as a second language.
- Will Clapp is a second-year PhD student in Linguistics. His interests are in phonetics, phonology, and psycholinguistics.
- Ziwei (Jo) Huang (interning from June 25 to August 16) is a rising senior majoring in Linguistics and Organizational Studies at Pitzer College. Her interests are in applied linguistics, multilingualism, language development, and language education.
- Xiyuan (Jessica) Li (interning from May 29 to July 21) is a rising junior majoring in Chinese and Bilingual Studies at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her interests are in bilingualism, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics.
- Shane Quinn (interning from May 20 to August 23) is a rising senior majoring in Linguistics and Arabic at Georgetown University. His interests are in multilingualism, language endangerment, language documentation, and revitalization, especially as pertains the acquisition of endangered languages.
- Yueliang Shao is a second-year MA student in Linguistics. His interests are in phonetics, phonology, and psycholinguistics.
And a warm welcome back to Qian and Wayne!
A paper entitled “LEXTALE_CH: A quick, character-based proficiency test for Mandarin Chinese” (Chan & Chang, 2018) has been published in the Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. This paper describes the development of the Mandarin proficiency test that was used for control purposes in the tone perception study presented at BUCLD 42.
Abstract: Research in second language acquisition suggests that objective performance-based assessments may provide more reliable and valid measures of second language proficiency than subjective self-ratings. To measure proficiency in English as a second language, a quick, vocabulary-based test called LexTALE (Lexical Test for Advanced Learners of English) was developed and shown to be able to differentiate between various levels of English proficiency. Following in the line of adaptations of this test for other languages, we created a character-based adaptation for Mandarin Chinese: LEXTALE_CH. In this paper, we discuss the development and validation of LEXTALE_CH in detail. In short, LEXTALE_CH can discriminate between high and low levels of Mandarin proficiency and is sensitive to the significant differences in vocabulary size between native speakers and second language learners of Mandarin; further, it takes only a few minutes to administer and is simple to score, making it a practical tool for low-stakes estimation of Mandarin proficiency.
This study followed Open Science practices, and all materials (Chinese and English versions of the final test, along with an answer key and image files for web administration) are publicly accessible via the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/qdy4n/.
Congratulations to Sharmaine Sun, who was awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grant to continue working on research in the lab in Summer 2018! Below is a brief description of the project she will be working on:
- Sharmaine Sun: “Language use and perceptions of Asian Bostonians”
Sharmaine will be working on a sociophonetic research project with two components: (1) examining features of English and heritage languages spoken by Asian Americans, across a range of ethnicities and life histories in the U.S., and (2) testing the perception, by both Asian and non-Asian American listeners, of Asian racial/ethnic identity in the speech of Asian American English users. In Summer 2018, Sharmaine will be involved in analyzing speech recordings from a pilot corpus of interviews as well as conducting a perception experiment to examine the social evaluation of Asian American males by straight female and gay male listeners.
A research article entitled “Perceptual attention as the locus of transfer to nonnative speech perception” (Chang, 2018) has been published in the May issue of Journal of Phonetics.
Abstract: One’s native language (L1) is known to influence the development of a nonnative language (L2) at multiple levels, but the nature of L1 transfer to L2 perception remains unclear. This study explored the hypothesis that transfer effects in perception come from L1-specific processing strategies, which direct attention to phonetic cues according to their estimated relative functional load (RFL). Using target languages that were either familiar (English) or unfamiliar (Korean), perception of unreleased final stops was tested in L1 English listeners and four groups of L2 English learners whose L1s differ in stop phonotactics and the estimated RFL of a crucial cue to unreleased stops (i.e., vowel-to-consonant formant transitions). Results were, overall, consistent with the hypothesis, with L1 Japanese listeners showing the poorest perception, followed by L1 Mandarin, Russian, English, and Korean listeners. Two exceptions occurred with Russian listeners, who underperformed Mandarin listeners in identification of English stops and outperformed English listeners in identification of Korean stops. Taken together, these findings support a cue-centric view of transfer based on perceptual attention over a direct phonotactic view based on structural conformity. However, transfer interacts with prior L2 knowledge, which may result in significantly different perceptual consequences for a familiar and an unfamiliar L2.
Welcome to the three students who will be joining the lab this semester to work on various research projects:
- Nurgül Işik is a graduate student in the TESOL EdM program (SED). Her interests are in psycholinguistics, bilingualism, and language development.
- Elisabeth Kotsalidis is a sophomore double-majoring in Anthropology and Classical Civilization. Her interests are in multilingualism and language acquisition.
- Shan Wan is a junior double-majoring in Japanese and Linguistics and Psychology. She is interested in psycholinguistics, bilingualism, and language education.
And a warm welcome back to Hye Youn, Kevin, Qian, Sharmaine, Wayne, and William!
Prof. Chang presented results on L1 phonological transfer (from collaborative work with Prof. Sungmi Kwon) at this weekend’s Old World Conference on Phonology in London. The title of the talk was “Sensitivity and transfer in perceptual learning of nonnative phonological contrasts” (slides here).
Congratulations to Sharmaine Sun, who was awarded a Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grant to continue working in the lab this coming semester! Below is a brief description of the project she will be working on:
- Sharmaine Sun: “Language use and perceptions of Asian Bostonians”
Sharmaine will be working on a sociophonetic research project investigating features of English and heritage languages spoken by Asian Americans, across a range of ethnicities and life histories in the U.S. In Spring 2018, Sharmaine will continue contributing to the analysis of pilot data, including interviews and socio-demographic questionnaires. She will also coordinate standards for interview transcription and collect phonetic results on the feature of “TH-stopping” in different subgroups of the interview corpus.
Prof. Chang presented results on L1 perceptual attrition (from collaborative work with Dr. Sunyoung Ahn) and results on L3 tone perception (from Vicky Chan’s MA research) at this weekend’s Boston University Conference on Language Development. The titles of the two talks were “Perception of non-native tonal contrasts by Mandarin-English and English-Mandarin sequential bilinguals” (slides here) and “The role of age and cross-linguistic similarity in first language perceptual attrition” (slides here).