Struggling to Become Non-Hong-Kong-Like: The Necessity and Effectiveness of Training Hong Kong Youngsters’ Perception and Production of General American English Vowel Contrasts
Wong questions the prevalent quest for a native-like English accent in Hong Kong and its necessity through presenting the findings from an experiment. This involves training the perception and production of two English vowel contrasts by Cantonese learners of English through different training paradigms including the High Variability Phonetic Training, explicit articulation training, and a combination of both. Converging with prior reports on the efficacy of the training paradigms, the present results reveal differential training effectiveness on different sounds and a ceiling effect observed among participants. The finding that perception precedes production also challenges the predominant focus on production in L2 speech learning in Hong Kong. Taken together, this chapter highlights the importance to reconsider language proficiency in terms of intelligibility and comprehensibility rather than nativeness.
KeywordsL2 perception and production High Variability Phonetic Training Explicit articulation training Non-native contrast Hong Kong English
This research was supported by Hong Kong PhD Fellowship awarded by the University Grant Committee of Hong Kong. Parts of this chapter were presented at Interspeech 2013 and ICPhS2015. I gratefully acknowledge all participants and the school, which generously offered their resources for the completion of the experiment. I also sincerely thank Jette Hansen Edwards, Lian-Hee Wee, Gwendolyn Gong, Yu-Leng Lin, and several anonymous reviewers for their comments and feedback on earlier versions of this chapter.
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