Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 January 2021
This chapter considers the relation between production and perception of L2 tone in speakers of Kiên Giang Khmer who are fluent to varying degrees in Southern Vietnamese. In addition to directly comparing L2 to L1 performance in tonal production and perception, we explore how perception might be related to the internal organization of a speaker’s own production system by comparing distances between f0 curves to accuracy in a speeded AX discrimination task. Relative to native speakers, we found considerable individual variation among speakers of Kiên Giang Khmer with L2 knowledge of Vietnamese in the degree to which they approximated Vietnamese tonal targets. Production accuracy was most strongly related to age, while discrimination performance correlated best with education. In addition, we observed a weak correlation between the acoustic distance of a Khmer speaker’s production of tone T to the native Vietnamese production of T, and the ability to discriminate tone T from other tones. However, speakers who acoustically separated two tones in their own productions were also more accurate at discriminating those tones in perception, regardless of how well those productions approximated native speaker targets.