Does Studying in a Music-oriented Education Program Affect Non-native Sound Learning? — Effects of Passive Auditory Training on Children’s Vowel Production


  • Katja Immonen University of Turku
  • Jemina Kilpeläinen University of Turku
  • Paavo Alku Aalto University
  • Maija S. Peltola University of Turku



auditory training, children, music, pronunciation, second language learning, vowels


Earlier studies have shown that children are efficient second language learners. Research has also shown that musical background might affect second language learning. A two-day auditory training paradigm was used to investigate whether studying in a music-oriented education program affects children’s sensitivity to acquire a non-native vowel contrast. Training effects were measured with listen-and-repeat production tests. Two groups of monolingual Finnish children (9–11 years, N=23) attending music-oriented and regular fourth grades were tested. The stimuli were two semisynthetic pseudo words /ty:ti/ and /tʉ:ti/ with the native vowel /y/ and the non-native vowel /ʉ/ embedded. Both groups changed their pronunciation after the first training. The change was reflected in the second formant values of /ʉ/, which lowered significantly after three trainings. The results show that 9–11-year-old children benefit from passive auditory training in second language production learning regardless of whether or not they attend a music-oriented education program.

Author Biographies

Katja Immonen, University of Turku

Phonetics and Learning, Age & Bilingualism Laboratory (LAB-lab), Department of Computing

Jemina Kilpeläinen, University of Turku

Phonetics and Learning, Age & Bilingualism Laboratory (LAB-lab), Department of Computing

Paavo Alku, Aalto University

Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics

Maija S. Peltola, University of Turku

Phonetics and Learning, Age & Bilingualism Laboratory (LAB-lab), Department of Computing


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