Contribution of Linguistic Variables to Bilingual Listeners' Perception of Degraded English Sentences PurposeThe present study was designed to investigate what linguistic variables best predict bilingual recognition of acoustically degraded sentences and how to identify bilingual individuals who might have more difficulty than their monolingual counterparts on such tasks.MethodFour hundred English speech-perception-in-noise (SPIN) sentences with high and low context were presented in combinations ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2012
Contribution of Linguistic Variables to Bilingual Listeners' Perception of Degraded English Sentences
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lu-Feng Shi
    Long Island University–Brooklyn Campus, New York
    Long Island University–Brooklyn Campus, New York
  • Correspondence to Lu-Feng Shi: lu.shi@liu.edu
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Mark Hedrick
    Associate Editor: Mark Hedrick×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing
Article   |   February 01, 2012
Contribution of Linguistic Variables to Bilingual Listeners' Perception of Degraded English Sentences
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2012, Vol. 55, 219-234. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0240)
History: Received August 26, 2010 , Revised February 11, 2011 , Accepted June 17, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2012, Vol. 55, 219-234. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0240)
History: Received August 26, 2010; Revised February 11, 2011; Accepted June 17, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

PurposeThe present study was designed to investigate what linguistic variables best predict bilingual recognition of acoustically degraded sentences and how to identify bilingual individuals who might have more difficulty than their monolingual counterparts on such tasks.

MethodFour hundred English speech-perception-in-noise (SPIN) sentences with high and low context were presented in combinations of noise (signal-to-noise ratio: +6 and 0 dB) and reverberation (reverberation time: 1.2 and 3.6 s) to 10 monolingual and 50 bilingual listeners. A detailed linguistic profile was obtained for bilingual listeners using the Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire.

ResultsVariables per reading in English (age of fluency, proficiency, and preference) emerged as strong predictors of performance across noise, reverberation, and context effects. Via discriminant analyses, bilingual listeners who rated their accent to be perceptible and reported shorter length of immersion in an English-spoken country or school tended to score significantly lower on the SPIN test than monolingual listeners.

ConclusionsBilingual listeners' linguistic background plays a major role in their use of context in degraded English sentences. Rather than conventional variables such as age of acquisition, variables pertaining to reading, proficiency, immersion, and accent severity may be obtained for improved prediction of bilingual performance on the task.

Acknowledgments
Portions of this work were presented at 157th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Portland, Oregon, 2009. I thank all volunteers who participated in this study. I am also grateful to Sharon Sandridge for providing the test stimuli and Laura Koenig for stimulating discussions related to this article.
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