J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 120, No. 5, Pt. 2, p. 3208, 2006 (Invited Paper)
Perception and production of long and short vowels in Japanese by children
T. Arai, K. Iitaka and E. Ohki
Abstract: Studies have shown that acquisition of reading depends on such phonological processes as verbal short-term memory and temporal processing of speech. An inability to encode phonological representations orthographically may cause reading disabilities, such as dyslexia. Categorical perception is known to be closely associated with phonological encoding. Thus, studies examining the temporal processing of speech sound categorization may be useful in differential diagnoses of reading development and disabilities. The first study examines the perception of long and short Japanese vowels by a group of seven normal six-year-old children and two with delayed phonological development. Subjects were asked to identify vowel length in sets of words. The first vowel in each stimulus word was made to vary with respect to length. Perception by normal and delayed children differed in ways similar to what had been reported in previous English studies. In the second study, the relation between perception and reading of long/short vowels was examined by a group of 125 children ages 4 to 8. Similar settings were used for the second experiment. The results showed that (1) a large developmental change of perception was observed in ages 6-8 and (2) a positive correlation was obtained between perception and reading tasks.