Perceptual assimilation of French oral vowels in consonantal contexts by naïve Korean listeners

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This study investigates perceptual assimilation of French vowels by native Korean listeners without knowledge of French to estimate perceptual similarity between vowels of the two languages (Best 1995). French vowels /i, e, ɛ, a, y, ø, oe, u, o, ɔ/ in non-coronal and coronal contexts were perceptually assimilated to Korean vowels /i, e, ɯ, ʌ, ɑ, u, o/. As a measure of perceptual similarity, fit indices were calculated by weighting a response percentage of the most frequently assimilated Korean vowel with its mean goodness-rating score (Sun and van Heuven 2007). French high front rounded /y/ was assimilated to Korean high back rounded /u/, suggesting that acoustic features reflecting lip rounding affect the identification of the front rounded vowel. French vowels were assimilated to the same Korean vowels in the two consonantal contexts except /ø/ and /oe/. It was not always the case that the assimilation patterns were explained in terms of acoustic distances between the vowels of French and Korean. The patterns where two French vowels were assimilated to a single Korean vowel showed one category-goodness (CG) type (/i/-/e/ to /i/) and two uncategorized-categorized (UC) types (/oe/-/ɔ/ to /ʌ/; /y/-/u/ to /u/) in the non-coronal contexts, and two CG types (/ɛ/-/oe/ to /e/; /u/-/y/ to /u/), one single-category type (/y/-/ø/ to /u/), and one UC type (/e/-/i/ to /i/) in the coronal contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-118
Number of pages26
JournalLinguistic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Eunjin Oh, published by Linguistic Research (KHU ISLI). This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


  • assimilation set
  • fit index
  • French vowels
  • goodness rating
  • Korean vowels
  • perceptual assimilation


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