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  Brain potentials to native phoneme discrimination reveal the origin of individual differences in learning the sounds of a second language

Diaz, B., Baus, C., Escera, C., Costa, A., & Sebastian-Galles, N. (2008). Brain potentials to native phoneme discrimination reveal the origin of individual differences in learning the sounds of a second language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(42), 16083-16088. doi:10.1073/pnas.0805022105.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-2BBD-9 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-86B3-F
Genre: Journal Article

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Diaz, Begona1, Author              
Baus, Cristina, Author
Escera, Caries, Author
Costa, Albert, Author
Sebastian-Galles, Nuria, Author
Affiliations:
1External Organizations, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Human beings differ in their ability to master the sounds of their second language (L2). Phonetic training studies have proposed that differences in phonetic learning stem from differences in psychoacoustic abilities rather than speech-specific capabilities. We aimed at finding the origin of individual differences in L2 phonetic acquisition in natural learning contexts. We consider two alternative explanations: a general psychoacoustic origin vs. a speech-specific one. For this purpose, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from two groups of early, proficient Spanish-Catalan bilinguals who differed in their mastery of the Catalan (L2) phonetic contrast /e-epsilon/. Brain activity in response to acoustic change detection was recorded in three different conditions involving tones of different length (duration condition), frequency (frequency condition), and presentation order (pattern condition). In addition, neural correlates of speech change detection were also assessed for both native (/o/-/e/) and nonnative (/o/-/ö/) phonetic contrasts (speech condition). Participants' discrimination accuracy, reflected electrically as a mismatch negativity (MMN), was similar between the two groups of participants in the three acoustic conditions. Conversely, the MMN was reduced in poor perceivers (PP) when they were presented with speech sounds. Therefore, our results support a speech-specific origin of individual variability in L2 phonetic mastery.

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 Dates: 2008
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: -
 Identifiers: eDoc: 546826
Other: P11216
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0805022105
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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : Proc. Acad. Sci. USA
  Other : Proc. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
  Abbreviation : PNAS
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 105 (42) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 16083 - 16088 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: /journals/resource/954925427230