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Listeners retune phoneme boundaries across languages [Abstract]

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Reinisch,  Eva
Adaptive Listening, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Weber,  Andrea
Adaptive Listening, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Mitterer,  Holger
Language Comprehension Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Reinisch, E., Weber, A., & Mitterer, H. (2011). Listeners retune phoneme boundaries across languages [Abstract]. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Program abstracts of the 162nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(4), 2572-2572.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-137C-7
Abstract
Listeners can flexibly retune category boundaries of their native language to adapt to non-canonically produced phonemes. This only occurs, however, if the pronunciation peculiarities can be attributed to stable and not transient speaker-specific characteristics. Listening to someone speaking a second language, listeners could attribute non-canonical pronunciations either to the speaker or to the fact that she is modifying her categories in the second language. We investigated whether, following exposure to Dutch-accented English, Dutch listeners show effects of category retuning during test where they hear the same speaker speaking her native language, Dutch. Exposure was a lexical-decision task where either word-final [f] or [s] was replaced by an ambiguous sound. At test listeners categorized minimal word pairs ending in sounds along an [f]-[s] continuum. Following exposure to English words, Dutch listeners showed boundary shifts of a similar magnitude as following exposure to the same phoneme variants in their native language. This suggests that production patterns in a second language are deemed a stable characteristic. A second experiment suggests that category retuning also occurs when listeners are exposed to and tested with a native speaker of their second language. Listeners thus retune phoneme boundaries across languages.