• Shu-chen OuEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Linguistics book series (SBIL)


Perceiving sound contrasts in a second language (L2) can be challenging. One problem that confronts Mandarin-speaking learners of English as a foreign language is with perceiving English lexical stress contrasts embedded in rising intonation. The present book reports a training program that aims to help the learners overcome such a perceptual challenge. As an introduction, this chapter sketches how difficulty with L2 speech perception occurs from the perspectives of some major models or theories. It is then pointed out that the difficulty may be effectively mitigated with a technique known as perceptual training. Before this technique is discussed in detail in the next chapter, we clarify a few terms that will be used throughout the rest of the chapters and presents an organization of the book.


  1. Aslin, R.N., P.W. Jusczyk, and D.B. Pisoni. 1998. Speech and auditory processing during infancy: Constraints on and precursors to language.Google Scholar
  2. Best, C.T. 1994. The emergence of language-specific influences in infant speech perception. In Development of Speech Perception: The Transition from Recognizing Speech Sounds to Spoken Words, ed. J. Goodman and H.C. Nusbaum, 167–224. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Best, C.T. 1995. A direct realist view of cross-language speech perception. In Speech Perception and Linguistic Experience: Issues in Cross-Language Research, ed. W. Strange, 171–204. Timonium, MD: York Press.Google Scholar
  4. Best, C.T., and M.D. Tyler. 2007. Nonnative and second-language speech perception: Commonalities and complementarities. In Language Experience in Second Language Speech Learning: In Honor of James Emil Flege, ed. O.-S. Bohn and M.J. Munro, 13–34. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Flege, J.E. 1984. The detection of French accent by American listeners. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 76 (3): 692–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Flege, J.E. 1995. Second language speech learning: Theory, findings, and problems. In Speech Perception and Linguistic Experience: Issues in Cross-Language Research, ed. W. Strange, 233–276. Timonium, MD: York Press.Google Scholar
  7. Flege, J.E. 1999. Age of learning and second language speech. In Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis, ed. D. Birdsong, 101–131. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  8. Flege, J.E. 2002. Interactions between the native and second-language phonetic systems. In An Integrated View of Language Development: Papers in Honor of Henning Wode, ed. P. Burmeister, T. Piske, and A. Rohde, 217–243. Trier, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.Google Scholar
  9. Kuhl, P.K. 1991. Human adults and human infants show a “perceptual magnet effect” for the prototypes of speech categories, monkeys do not. Perception and Psychophysics 50 (2): 93–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kuhl, P.K. 1993. Innate predispositions and the effects of experience in speech perception: The Native Language Magnet theory. In Developmental Neurocognition: Speech and Face Processing in the First Year of Life, ed. B. de Boysson-Bardies, S. de Schonen, P. Jusczyk, P. McNeilage, and J. Morton, 259–274. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kuhl, P.K. 2004. Early language acquisition: Cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5: 831–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lamendella, J.T. 1977. General principles of neurofunctional organization and their manifestation in primary and nonprimary language acquisition. Language Learning 27 (1): 155–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lenneberg, E.H. 1967. The biological foundations of language. Hospital Practice 2 (12): 59–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Penfield, W., and L. Roberts. 1966. Speech and Brain Mechanisms. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  15. Singleton, D. 1995. Introduction: A critical look at the critical age hypothesis in second language acquisition research. In The Age Factor in Second Language Acquisition, ed. D. Singleton and Z. Lengyel, 1–29. Clevedon, Avon, UK: Multilingual Matters Ltd.Google Scholar
  16. Streeter, L.A. 1976. Language perception of 2-month-old infants shows effects of both innate mechanisms and experience. Nature 259 (5538): 39–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Werker, J.F., and C.E. Lalonde. 1988. Cross-language speech perception: Initial capabilities and developmental change. Developmental Psychology 24 (5): 672–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Werker, J.F., and R.C. Tees. 1984. Phonemic and phonetic factors in adult cross-language speech perception. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 75 (6): 1866–1878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

Personalised recommendations