Instructional Effects on Voice Onset Time Perception in L2 Speech Segmentation

In Young Yang 1 ,
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1Seoul National University
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ⓒ Copyright 2017 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Oct 31, 2017 ; Revised: Dec 11, 2017 ; Accepted: Dec 22, 2017

Published Online: Dec 31, 2017


This study examined the effects of instruction on the English word boundary perception of Korean learners of English. The focus of this study was the appropriate use of Voice Onset Time (VOT) of English voiceless stops (p, t, k) in word initial (e.g., top) and after word initial s position (e.g., stop) signaling the presence and absence of a word boundary before the stop consonant. There were 48 participants in the study, who were assessed three times: before instruction (pre-test), immediately after instruction (post-test), and five weeks after instruction (delayed post-test). Results revealed that participants’ perceptual accuracy improved significantly in both VOT positions in segmentation after instruction. However, the improvement was more prominent in word initial than after word initial s. Among word initial stop consonants, velar stops were the most difficult to acquire, while after initial s, bilabial stops were the most difficult and alveolar stops were the easiest to acquire.

Keywords: VOT; Segmentation; Word boundary perception; English stop consonants; L2 perception; Pronunciation teaching