The Effect of Intensified Language Exposure on Accommodating Talker Variability Purpose This study systematically examined the role of intensified exposure to a second language on accommodating talker variability. Method English native listeners (n = 37) were compared with Mandarin listeners who had either lived in the United States for an extended period of time (n = 33) or ... Research Note
Research Note  |   June 01, 2015
The Effect of Intensified Language Exposure on Accommodating Talker Variability
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark Antoniou
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Patrick C. M. Wong
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Suiping Wang
    South China Normal University, Shipai, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Suiping Wang: suiping@scnu.edu.cn
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz
    Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / International & Global / Speech / Research Notes
Research Note   |   June 01, 2015
The Effect of Intensified Language Exposure on Accommodating Talker Variability
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 722-727. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0259
History: Received September 15, 2014 , Revised December 21, 2014 , Accepted March 19, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 722-727. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0259
History: Received September 15, 2014; Revised December 21, 2014; Accepted March 19, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose This study systematically examined the role of intensified exposure to a second language on accommodating talker variability.

Method English native listeners (n = 37) were compared with Mandarin listeners who had either lived in the United States for an extended period of time (n = 33) or had lived only in China (n = 44). Listeners responded to target words in an English word-monitoring task in which sequences of words were randomized. Half of the sequences were spoken by a single talker and the other half by multiple talkers.

Results Mandarin listeners living in China were slower and less accurate than both English listeners and Mandarin listeners living in the United States. Mandarin listeners living in the United States were less accurate than English natives only in the more cognitively demanding mixed-talker condition.

Conclusions Mixed-talker speech affects processing in native and nonnative listeners alike, although the decrement is larger in nonnatives and further exaggerated in less proficient listeners. Language immersion improves listeners' ability to resolve talker variability, and this suggests that immersion may automatize nonnative processing, freeing cognitive resources that may play a crucial role in speech perception. These results lend support to the active control model of speech perception.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by U.S. National Institutes of Health Grant R01DC013315 (awarded to P. C. M. W. and B. C.), National Science Foundation of China Grant 31271086 (awarded to S. W. and P. C. M. W.), Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award DE150101053 (awarded to M. A.), and the Global Parent Child Resource Centre Limited.
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