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Processing changes when listening to foreign-accented speech.

Romero-Rivas C, Martin CD, Costa A - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: Furthermore, during native speech comprehension, semantic violations in the critical words elicited an N400 effect followed by a late positivity.During foreign-accented speech comprehension, semantic violations only elicited an N400 effect.Moreover, these results suggest that lexical access, semantic integration and linguistic re-analysis processes are permeable to external factors, such as the accent of the speaker.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Speech Production and Bilingualism, Center for Brain and Cognition, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain.

ABSTRACT
This study investigates the mechanisms responsible for fast changes in processing foreign-accented speech. Event Related brain Potentials (ERPs) were obtained while native speakers of Spanish listened to native and foreign-accented speakers of Spanish. We observed a less positive P200 component for foreign-accented speech relative to native speech comprehension. This suggests that the extraction of spectral information and other important acoustic features was hampered during foreign-accented speech comprehension. However, the amplitude of the N400 component for foreign-accented speech comprehension decreased across the experiment, suggesting the use of a higher level, lexical mechanism. Furthermore, during native speech comprehension, semantic violations in the critical words elicited an N400 effect followed by a late positivity. During foreign-accented speech comprehension, semantic violations only elicited an N400 effect. Overall, our results suggest that, despite a lack of improvement in phonetic discrimination, native listeners experience changes at lexical-semantic levels of processing after brief exposure to foreign-accented speech. Moreover, these results suggest that lexical access, semantic integration and linguistic re-analysis processes are permeable to external factors, such as the accent of the speaker.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Accent strength ratings. Ratings were from 1 (native speech) to 5 (the speaker has a very strong foreign accent).
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Figure 1: Accent strength ratings. Ratings were from 1 (native speech) to 5 (the speaker has a very strong foreign accent).

Mentions: Accent strength and intelligibility of the eight speakers were tested by an independent sample of 27 native speakers of Spanish (19 women, mean age = 22.93 years, range = 18–38 years). Participants in the pre-tests were also mostly from Catalonia, and Spanish was their dominant language as well (they would speak Spanish to their parents, and they would use Spanish >70% of the time when interacting with other people). These pre-tests were run in order to ensure that native and foreign-accented speakers were perceived differently, and that, beyond this difference, they were all understandable. Participants carried out two tasks. During the first task, they had to listen to the experimental sentences and rate them from 1 (native speech) to 5 (the speaker has a very strong foreign accent). For the second task, subjects had to write down the final word of each sentence (comprehension task). Regarding the first task, we carried out a repeated measures ANOVA including the within subject factors Accent (native, foreign) and Speaker (each of the eight speakers). A significant effect of Accent was obtained [F(1, 26) = 793.93, p < 0.001], revealing that foreign speakers' accents (mean = 3.58, SD = 0.2) were evaluated as stronger than native speakers' accent (mean = 1.22, SD = 0.07). We also obtained a significant effect of Speaker [F(3, 24) = 7.03, p < 0.01], and a significant interaction between the two factors [F(3, 24) = 30.82, p < 0.01]. Planned comparisons revealed that each native speaker was rated significantly less accented than each non-native speaker. Also, between native speakers only speaker number 2 was rated as significantly more accented than the rest. Among foreign accented speakers only the Japanese one was rated as significantly less accented than the rest (for further details, see Figure 1). Regarding the second task, participants recognized the last word of the sentences 100 per cent of the times both for the native and for the foreign accented speakers, and did not report any difficulties in understanding the sentences. Based on these results, we can conclude that native and foreign-accented speakers were perceived differently, although all of them were understood4.


Processing changes when listening to foreign-accented speech.

Romero-Rivas C, Martin CD, Costa A - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Accent strength ratings. Ratings were from 1 (native speech) to 5 (the speaker has a very strong foreign accent).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4373278&req=5

Figure 1: Accent strength ratings. Ratings were from 1 (native speech) to 5 (the speaker has a very strong foreign accent).
Mentions: Accent strength and intelligibility of the eight speakers were tested by an independent sample of 27 native speakers of Spanish (19 women, mean age = 22.93 years, range = 18–38 years). Participants in the pre-tests were also mostly from Catalonia, and Spanish was their dominant language as well (they would speak Spanish to their parents, and they would use Spanish >70% of the time when interacting with other people). These pre-tests were run in order to ensure that native and foreign-accented speakers were perceived differently, and that, beyond this difference, they were all understandable. Participants carried out two tasks. During the first task, they had to listen to the experimental sentences and rate them from 1 (native speech) to 5 (the speaker has a very strong foreign accent). For the second task, subjects had to write down the final word of each sentence (comprehension task). Regarding the first task, we carried out a repeated measures ANOVA including the within subject factors Accent (native, foreign) and Speaker (each of the eight speakers). A significant effect of Accent was obtained [F(1, 26) = 793.93, p < 0.001], revealing that foreign speakers' accents (mean = 3.58, SD = 0.2) were evaluated as stronger than native speakers' accent (mean = 1.22, SD = 0.07). We also obtained a significant effect of Speaker [F(3, 24) = 7.03, p < 0.01], and a significant interaction between the two factors [F(3, 24) = 30.82, p < 0.01]. Planned comparisons revealed that each native speaker was rated significantly less accented than each non-native speaker. Also, between native speakers only speaker number 2 was rated as significantly more accented than the rest. Among foreign accented speakers only the Japanese one was rated as significantly less accented than the rest (for further details, see Figure 1). Regarding the second task, participants recognized the last word of the sentences 100 per cent of the times both for the native and for the foreign accented speakers, and did not report any difficulties in understanding the sentences. Based on these results, we can conclude that native and foreign-accented speakers were perceived differently, although all of them were understood4.

Bottom Line: Furthermore, during native speech comprehension, semantic violations in the critical words elicited an N400 effect followed by a late positivity.During foreign-accented speech comprehension, semantic violations only elicited an N400 effect.Moreover, these results suggest that lexical access, semantic integration and linguistic re-analysis processes are permeable to external factors, such as the accent of the speaker.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Speech Production and Bilingualism, Center for Brain and Cognition, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain.

ABSTRACT
This study investigates the mechanisms responsible for fast changes in processing foreign-accented speech. Event Related brain Potentials (ERPs) were obtained while native speakers of Spanish listened to native and foreign-accented speakers of Spanish. We observed a less positive P200 component for foreign-accented speech relative to native speech comprehension. This suggests that the extraction of spectral information and other important acoustic features was hampered during foreign-accented speech comprehension. However, the amplitude of the N400 component for foreign-accented speech comprehension decreased across the experiment, suggesting the use of a higher level, lexical mechanism. Furthermore, during native speech comprehension, semantic violations in the critical words elicited an N400 effect followed by a late positivity. During foreign-accented speech comprehension, semantic violations only elicited an N400 effect. Overall, our results suggest that, despite a lack of improvement in phonetic discrimination, native listeners experience changes at lexical-semantic levels of processing after brief exposure to foreign-accented speech. Moreover, these results suggest that lexical access, semantic integration and linguistic re-analysis processes are permeable to external factors, such as the accent of the speaker.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus