Fifty native English speakers (ages: 3, 9, 11 and adults) were asked to discriminate and pronounce Spanish words. The Wepman Auditory Discrimination Test was administered to the subjects to assess their discrimination abilities in their native language. A training session using English pairs of words showed that five-year-olds improved in their discrimination abilities after training but three-year-olds did not. Pronunciation was scored by two native Spanish speakers. Analyses revealed that older subjects pronounced the Spanish words significantly better than did younger subjects. Similar results were obtained for the analyses of Spanish phoneme pronunciation. Moreover, analyses of discrimination abilities on the Wepman Test also showed that the older subjects discriminated better than did the three-year-olds but discrimination appeared to remain constant after the five-year-old level. Finally, discrimination abilities for the Spanish words improved as a function of age. Older subjects discriminated better than did younger ones; however, this improvement was seen only up to the nine-year-old level after which performance remained constant.
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Thomas, Margaret H.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Correa, Maria J., "Ability to Discriminate and Pronounce Foreign Language Phonemes as a Function of Age" (1984). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 4674.