A Psychoacoustic Investigation of Foreignness.
CALIFORNIA UNIV SANTA BARBARA
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A study was conducted to investigate and measure the foreignness of ten languages. Forty-five listeners judged the relative foreignness of 2250 paired utterances, and ordinal scales were made from their judgments. The purpose of the investigation was to determine the feasibility of the development of an auditory foreign language aptitude test for specific language aptitudes especially for conversational foreign language learning. It was found that listeners indeed made very definite and consistent foreignness judgments. The tone languages, Vietnamese and Mandarin, were consistently judged to be the most foreign of the test languages. An examination of related studies turned up a general trend suggesting that auditory foreign aptitude tests and subtests are more accurate predictors of success than written pencil and paper tests. Author