Acquisition of Hindi's laryngeal contrast by Meiteilon speakers


  • Krishan Chaursiya Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  • Paroma Sanyal Indian Institute of Technology Delhi


Though Meeteilon does not have phonemic contrast in voicing, native speakers can accurately recognize voiced stops and aspirated voiced stops in word initial positions and categorically distinguish these from voiceless stops and aspirated voiceless stops. However, they are unable to perceive any of these laryngeal contrasts in word-final position. We explain these facts by proposing that tone and aspiration being phonemic in Meeteilon, these cues from L1 can be re-recruited by native speakers for learning laryngeal contrasts in a second language like Hindi. Since these cues from L1 cannot be used to perceive laryngeal contrasts in word-final position, the contrasts are not perceived in these positions.