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Terry Gottfried

Lawrence University
920 832-6706
Relation of musical training to learning unfamiiliar speech contrasts
My research has concerned the extent to which musical experience relates to non-natives’ perception and production of Mandarin Chinese tones. We have shown that native speakers of American English with conservatory training performed better than non-musicians when identifying, discriminating, and imitating the four distinctive tones of Mandarin. Thus, there appears to be a relationship between good pitch discrimination and the psychoacoustic abilities necessary to learn unfamiliar speech sound contrasts. However, the extent to which this advantage is due to training or natural abilities is being further investigated. Also, further research is needed to determine whether this advantage transfers to longer-term language learning.
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