Yizhou Lan(Shenzhen University)
70 Mandarin-speaking advanced learners of English participated in two phonetic perception experiments eliciting 1) learners’ preferred Mandarin equivalent classifications of English fricatives and affricates (/s, ʃ, ʧ, ʤ, tr, dr, ʒ/) along with fitness rates and 2) accuracy rates of discriminating L2 English consonant pairs. The mapping patterns between Mandarin and English consonants, ranging from poor to good, together with learning outcomes from accuracy findings, were compared against predictions by the Perceptual Assimilation Model, a theoretic model that predicts learning outcomes by phonetic distances. Overall, the perceived phonetic distances between Mandarin and English consonants predicted the learners’ correct identification of the L2 English consonants except for a few number of individual sounds. The Findings suggest that phonetic similarity do predict most mappings as the learning models postulate, but other factors such as articulatory proximity and orthographic influences should be considered, too.