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THE EFFECT OF FOREIGN FILM ON THE PRODUCTION AND PERCEPTION OF NON-NATIVE SPEECH
The present dissertation explores the effect of exposure to non-native speech via foreign film on non-native speech production and perception. In order to explore potential effects, two main experiments were developed, which examined French production and perception by monolingual native speakers of English before and after exposure to French film. Across both experiments, two variables were selected for observation: high rounded vowels (/y/ and /u/) and consonant voicing (VOT). The production component of the dissertation investigated whether exposure to French film aided in the ability of monolingual American English speakers (n=74) to shadow French words containing high rounded vowels, /y/ and /u/, as tested through acoustic analyses and native French listener perceptual judgements (n=221). Perception of high rounded vowels and consonant voicing were examined using a perceptual assimilation task with category goodness ratings and a binary forced-choice voicing identification task, respectively.
With regard to the role of foreign film in non-native speech production, results indicated that a single session of exposure to French film had a small but significant effect on shadowing of French /y/, which was also perceptible to native French listeners. Shadowing of /u/, however, was not significantly affected by exposure. Additionally, while the acoustic analysis of VOT did not reveal any significant effects of film, native French listeners perceived post-film exposure productions to be significantly more target-like than pre-film exposure productions. This finding suggests that although VOT was seemingly unaffected by foreign film exposure, participants may have adjusted alternative acoustic correlates of voicing and that these modifications were perceptible to native listeners. In general, these results suggest that while potential effects of film are present, they are highly dependent on the variable being observed.
Results from the perceptual portion of the dissertation do not provide evidence that film exposure was effective at influencing non-native speech perception for either high rounded vowels or consonant voicing. However, it is suggested that this could be due to the difficulty of the tasks chosen rather than the effectiveness of foreign film.
Taken together, the present dissertation provides evidence that exposure to non-native speech via foreign film can affect some aspects of non-native speech learning. It is hypothesized that further sessions may compound these initial benefits, especially in those who are already learning a second language.