Individual differences in phonetic cue use in production and perception of a non-native sound contrast

Jessamyn Schertz, Taehong Cho, Andrew Lotto, Natasha Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The current work examines native Korean speakers' perception and production of stop contrasts in their native language (L1, Korean) and second language (L2, English), focusing on three acoustic dimensions that are all used, albeit to different extents, in both languages: voice onset time (VOT), f0 at vowel onset, and closure duration. Participants used all three cues to distinguish the L1 Korean three-way stop distinction in both production and perception. Speakers' productions of the L2 English contrasts were reliably distinguished using both VOT and f0 (even though f0 is only a very weak cue to the English contrast), and, to a lesser extent, closure duration. In contrast to the relative homogeneity of the L2 productions, group patterns on a forced-choice perception task were less clear-cut, due to considerable individual differences in perceptual categorization strategies, with listeners using either primarily VOT duration, primarily f0, or both dimensions equally to distinguish the L2 English contrast. Differences in perception, which were stable across experimental sessions, were not predicted by individual variation in production patterns. This work suggests that reliance on multiple cues in representation of a phonetic contrast can form the basis for distinct individual cue-weighting strategies in phonetic categorization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-204
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Phonetics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Individual differences
  • Korean
  • L2
  • Phonetic cue weighting
  • Stop voicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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