Age of Second-Language Acquisition and Perception of Speech in Noise To determine how age of acquisition influences perception of second-language speech, the Speech Perception in Noise (SPIN) test was administered to native Mexican-Spanish-speaking listeners who learned fluent English before age 6 (early bilinguals) or after age 14 (late bilinguals) and monolingual American-English speakers (monolinguals). Results show that the levels of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1997
Age of Second-Language Acquisition and Perception of Speech in Noise
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lynn Hansberry Mayo
    Northeastern University Boston, MA
  • Mary Florentine
    Northeastern University Boston, MA
  • Søren Buus
    Northeastern University Boston, MA
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1997
Age of Second-Language Acquisition and Perception of Speech in Noise
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1997, Vol. 40, 686-693. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4003.686
History: Received August 2, 1996 , Accepted January 11, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1997, Vol. 40, 686-693. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4003.686
History: Received August 2, 1996; Accepted January 11, 1997

To determine how age of acquisition influences perception of second-language speech, the Speech Perception in Noise (SPIN) test was administered to native Mexican-Spanish-speaking listeners who learned fluent English before age 6 (early bilinguals) or after age 14 (late bilinguals) and monolingual American-English speakers (monolinguals). Results show that the levels of noise at which the speech was intelligible were significantly higher and the benefit from context was significantly greater for monolinguals and early bilinguals than for late bilinguals. These findings indicate that learning a second language at an early age is important for the acquisition of efficient high-level processing of it, at least in the presence of noise.

Acknowledgments
Part of this work was carried out at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Texas at El Paso. Professors Joan Manley and Belinda Reyes at the University of Texas at El Paso kindly helped locate listeners. Professors Linda Ferrier, Joanne Miller, and Stephen Sadow from Northeastern University provided helpful advice. The reviewers provided useful comments.
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