This study assessed the influence of subjective lexical familiarity and English-language experience on Japanese adults' accuracy in identifying singleton word-initial tokens of English /Modifier letter small turned r sign/ and /l/. The inexperienced Japanese (IJ) subjects had lived in the U.S. for 2 years, whereas the experienced Japanese (EJ) subjects had lived there for 21 years, on average. The native Japanese subjects correctly identified English /Modifier letter small turned r sign/ and /l/ tokens less often than did a group of native English (NE) subjects, but they did not differ from the NE subjects in identifying the control consonants /w/ and /d/. The NE subjects, who were at ceiling, showed no effect of subjective lexical familiarity. However, the EJ and IJ subjects correctly identified /Modifier letter small turned r sign/ and /l/ tokens more often in words that were more familiar than their minimal pairs than in words that were less familiar than their minimal pairs. The EJ subjects identified liquids more often than did the IJ subjects, but usually less often than the NE subjects. However, the EJ subjects managed to identify /Modifier letter small turned r sign/ tokens at rates comparable to the NE subjects' rates in words that were matched in subjective familiarity to their minimal pair (experiment 1), and when identifying /Modifier letter small turned r sign/ tokens that had been edited out of their original word or nonword context (experiment 2). © 1996 Acoustical Society of America.