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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Oregon Eugene
  • Melissa M Baese-Berk
  • (541) 346-5131
  • Jonathan Wright
Award Date:07/12/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 12,235
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 12,235
  • FY 2020=$12,235
Start Date:08/01/2020
End Date:07/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Doctoral Dissertation Research: Factors Affecting Incidental Formation of Novel Suprasegmental Categories
Federal Award ID Number:2017285
DUNS ID:079289626
Parent DUNS ID:049793995
Program:DDRI Linguistics
Program Officer:
  • Joan Maling
  • (703) 292-8046

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:04

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Oregon Eugene
Cong. District:04

Abstract at Time of Award

Difficulty hearing and producing new sounds in a second language leads to lowered comprehension of the target language and difficulty speaking in a way that can be easily understood by native speakers. This can lead to painful interactions and potential abandonment of the acquisition effort. Research and anecdotal evidence highlight the difficulty that speakers of non-tonal languages have when attempting to form novel tone categories in other languages. Results from the proposed research will provide a greater understanding of the factors that affect the process of acquisition of novel tone categories, benefitting both learners and teachers. Factors tested in the proposed experiments are specific to pedagogical considerations when introducing novel suprasegmental categories. With greater foundational knowledge regarding these issues, language teachers will have a wider range of tools with which they will be able to develop optimal methodologies for helping their students better acquire tone categories. Second language acquisition differs from first language acquisition in that it is possible to exogenously direct the learner’s attention to the target sound categories. However, even in second language acquisition, the majority of exposure to novel sound categories in the natural world occurs incidentally through interactions with native speakers and media, rather than through explicit instruction in a lab or in the classroom. Therefore, it is important to understand factors that affect the incidental formation of novel sound categories in natural speech. The proposed studies investigate factors affecting the incidental acquisition of novel tone categories by having learners focus on a simple visual matching task with tokens from the target auditory categories providing predictive clues about the location of the visual targets. This incidental learning paradigm permits the examination of factors known to affect novel sound category learning during explicit, directed training. A greater knowledge of factors impacting novel tone category formation during incidental learning will provide a contrastive evaluation of our knowledge of novel sound category formation during training with explicit instructions, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of how humans process speech sounds and form new sound categories. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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