Perception of Acoustically Degraded Sentences in Bilingual Listeners Who Differ in Age of English Acquisition PurposeThe effects of acoustic degradation and context use on sentence perception were evaluated in listeners differing in age of English acquisition.MethodFive groups of 8 listeners, native monolingual (NM), native bilingual (NB), and early, late, and very late non-native bilingual (NN-E, NN-L, and NN-VL, respectively), identified target words in 400 Speech-Perception-in-Noise ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2010
Perception of Acoustically Degraded Sentences in Bilingual Listeners Who Differ in Age of English Acquisition
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lu-Feng Shi
    Long Island University—Brooklyn Campus
  • Contact author: Lu-Feng Shi, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Long Island University—Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY 11201. E-mail: lu.shi@liu.edu.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing
Article   |   August 01, 2010
Perception of Acoustically Degraded Sentences in Bilingual Listeners Who Differ in Age of English Acquisition
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 821-835. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0081)
History: Received April 29, 2009 , Revised August 8, 2009 , Accepted February 12, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 821-835. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0081)
History: Received April 29, 2009; Revised August 8, 2009; Accepted February 12, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 39

PurposeThe effects of acoustic degradation and context use on sentence perception were evaluated in listeners differing in age of English acquisition.

MethodFive groups of 8 listeners, native monolingual (NM), native bilingual (NB), and early, late, and very late non-native bilingual (NN-E, NN-L, and NN-VL, respectively), identified target words in 400 Speech-Perception-in-Noise (SPIN) sentences presented in 8 combinations of noise (+6 vs. 0 dB signal-to-noise ratio), reverberation (1.2 vs. 3.6 s reverberation time), and context (high vs. low predictability).

ResultsSeparate effects of noise, reverberation, and context were largely level dependent and more significant than their interaction with listeners' age of English acquisition. However, the effect of noise, as well as the combined effect of reverberation and context, was mediated by age of acquisition. NN-VL listeners' performance was significantly compromised in all test conditions. NB, NN-E, and NN-L listeners' use of context, by contrast, deviated substantially from the monolingual normative in difficult listening conditions.

ConclusionsFindings suggest that linguistic background needs to be considered in the understanding of bilingual listeners' context use in acoustically degraded conditions. Direct comparison of early bilingual listeners' performance with monolingual norms may be inappropriate when speech is highly degraded.

Acknowledgments
I would like to thank all volunteers who participated in this study. I am grateful to Sharon Sandridge for providing the reverberant SPIN test and to Laura Koenig. Thanks also to Keren Zahavi for editing earlier versions of this article. Portions of this work were presented at the 2008 International Hearing Aid Research Conference in Lake Tahoe, CA.
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