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Auteur: Takeki KAMIYAMA

Co-Auteur(s): Jumpei KANEDA, Kansai University, Japan Ryôko HAYASHI, Kôbe University, Japan

Perception and production of French oral vowels by Japanese speakers with different dialect backgrounds/Perception et production des voyelles orales du français par des japonophones avec des dialectes différents

Abstract/Résumé: It has been widely shown in the literature that the vowel system and its phonetic realization in the native language (L1) plays an important role in the perception of the vowels of other languages (L2). However, relatively little is known about the impact of the native dialect of the listener (Morrison, 2008; Chládková & Podlipský, 2011). The present study illustrates the case of native listeners of two different varieties of Japanese (from eastern region of Kantô and western Kansai) perceiving French vowels of the Parisian region. Parisian French has 10 oral and 3 nasal vowels. It has a high back vowel /u/, which is realized as a focal vowel (Schwartz et al., 1997) with close first two formants (F1/F2) under 1000 Hz (Liénard, 1977; Vaissière, 2007, inter alia). It was shown that native speakers of Tokyo Japanese tend to produce this target vowel /u/ with a higher F2, which is rather perceived as /ø/ by native listeners of French (Kamiyama & Vaissière, 2009). This trend is related to the fact that the high non-front vowel in Tokyo Japanese /u/ shows a higher F2 (> 1000 Hz) than that of the French /u/. By contrast, the corresponding phoneme in Kansai Japanese is usually described as more rounded (Shibatani, 1990) and its F2 is lower (Sugitô, 1995) than that of Kantô. It was indeed reported that some Japanese-speaking learners of French from Kansai produce the French /u/ with a lower F2 (around 1000 Hz for male speakers) than typical values observed in the production of learners from Kantô (Kamiyama, 2012). However, to our knowledge, there is no systematic acoustic data on the production of Kansai vowels, comparable with those of Tokyo Japanese or Parisian French. The purpose of this paper is twofold: firstly to present acoustic data on the production of Kansai Japanese vowels, and secondly to relate the perception of Parisian French vowels by Kansai listeners to the vowel production of their own native variety. In the first experiment, the 5 Japanese vowels were pronounced by 10 (5 male and 5 female) speakers of Kansai Japanese with no learning experience of French and their first 4 formants were measured. In the second experiment, the same participants took part in an AXB auditory discrimination task (including vowels pairs /u/-/y/, /y/-/ø/ and /u/-/ø/) and in a perceptual assimilation task in which they chose one of the 5 Japanese vowels. The results were compared with those of Tokyo speakers in previous studies.