Creation of the Survey

In my experiment I compared three different Thai minimal pairs, /b/, /p/, and /ph/ to see if bilingual English and Spanish speakers do a better job at recognizing them in comparison to monolingual English speakers. Both English and Spanish recognize the difference between /b/ and /p/ phonemes, thus speakers can easily differentiate between ‘but’ and ‘put’. The same applies for differentiating between /ph/ and /b/. However, when it comes to noticing the difference between /p/ and /ph/ phonemes, speakers may struggle because differentiating the two hold no linguistical significance in Spanish and English. The Thai language on the other hand differentiates between all three phonemes. By playing recordings of Thai minimal pairs to bilingual English- Spanish and monolingual English speakers I hope to test whether or not being able to speak more than one language increases one’s ability to recognize non-native sounds in a third language. 

For my survey I chose to create a Multiple Forced Choice experiment in Praat. It required some coding, and thankfully I have taken a few classes so I could easily and quickly understand the program. An MFC experiment  was the best way to present my survey because it is simple and easy to follow. In my experiment I wanted to make sure that I tested my participants ability to differentiate the same minimal pairs multiple times in order to see how well they could differentiate the sounds, but I also didn’t want to overwhelm them by over-testing them. My advisor and I agreed that if I had to many repetitions and made the experiment too long it might affect people’s effort and awareness. I came to a conclusion that three repetitions of 24 stimuli, or 24 minimal pairs, would be enough to an accurate reading of their ability but short enough to prevent people from getting sloppy with their choices.

Below I attached a screenshot of the code of my survey. The names in quotes under the ‘numberOfDifferentStimuli’ line are the minimal pairs. Each ‘word’_’letter’_’number’ is a specific recording saved on my computer. ‘Word’ is the English translation of the Thai word in the recording; ‘letter’ is for the Thai phoneme (either /b/, /p/, or /ph/); ‘number’ is for the number of the recording used.

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