Learning to perceive and recognize a second language: the L2LP model revised

  • van Leussen J
  • Escudero P
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Abstract

We present a test of a revised version of the Second Language Linguistic Perception (L2LP) model, a computational model of the acquisition of second language (L2) speech perception and recognition. The model draws on phonetic, phonological, and psycholinguistic constructs to explain a number of L2 learning scenarios. However, a recent computational implementation failed to validate a theoretical proposal for a learning scenario where the L2 has less phonemic categories than the native language (L1) along a given acoustic continuum. According to the L2LP, learners faced with this learning scenario must not only shift their old L1 phoneme boundaries but also reduce the number of categories employed in perception. Our proposed revision to L2LP successfully accounts for this updating in the number of perceptual categories as a process driven by the meaning of lexical items, rather than by the learners' awareness of the number and type of phonemes that are relevant in their new language, as the previous version of L2LP assumed. Results of our simulations show that meaning-driven learning correctly predicts the developmental path of L2 phoneme perception seen in empirical studies. Additionally, and to contribute to a long-standing debate in psycholinguistics, we test two versions of the model, with the stages of phonemic perception and lexical recognition being either sequential or interactive. Both versions succeed in learning to recognize minimal pairs in the new L2, but make diverging predictions on learners' resulting phonological representations. In sum, the proposed revision to the L2LP model contributes to our understanding of L2 acquisition, with implications for speech processing in general.

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van Leussen, J.-W., & Escudero, P. (2015). Learning to perceive and recognize a second language: the L2LP model revised. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01000

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