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Language and Speech

Simone Sulpizio, Fabio Fasoli, Raquel Antonio, Friederike Eyssel, Maria Paola Paladino, Charlotte Diehl
We investigated auditory gaydar (i.e., the ability to recognize sexual orientation) in female speakers, addressing three related issues: whether auditory gaydar is (1) accurate, (2) language-dependent (i.e., occurs only in some languages, but not in others), and (3) ingroup-specific (i.e., occurs only when listeners judge speakers of their own language, but not when they judge foreign language speakers). In three experiments, we asked Italian, Portuguese, and German participants (total N = 466) to listen to voices of Italian, Portuguese, and German women, and to rate their sexual orientation...
February 17, 2019: Language and Speech
Nia Cason, Muriel Marmursztejn, Mariapaola D'Imperio, Daniele Schön
While many studies have demonstrated the relationship between musical rhythm and speech prosody, this has been rarely addressed in the context of second language (L2) acquisition. Here, we investigated whether musical rhythmic skills and the production of L2 speech prosody are predictive of one another. We tested both musical and linguistic rhythmic competences of 23 native French speakers of L2 English. Participants completed perception and production music and language tests. In the prosody production test, sentences containing trisyllabic words with either a prominence on the first or on the second syllable were heard and had to be reproduced...
February 13, 2019: Language and Speech
Ksenia Gnevsheva, Daniel Bürkle
Current research shows that listeners are generally accurate at estimating speakers' age from their speech. This study investigates the effect of speaker first language and the role played by such speaker characteristics as fundamental frequency and speech rate. In this study English and Japanese first language speakers listened to English- and Japanese-accented English speech and estimated the speaker's age. We find the highest correlation between real and estimated speaker age for English listeners listening to English speakers, followed by Japanese listeners listening to both English and Japanese speakers, with English listeners listening to Japanese speakers coming last...
February 13, 2019: Language and Speech
Kaori Idemaru, Bodo Winter, Lucien Brown, Grace Eunhae Oh
Social meaning is not conveyed through words alone, but also through how words are produced phonetically. This paper investigates the role of loudness and pitch in determining the perception of politeness-related judgments in Korean. It has been proposed that high pitch is universally associated with polite or deferential social meanings. In contrast to this, Experiment 1 examined the perceptual effect of pitch and found no effect. Experiment 2 tested the effect of loudness, and found that listeners associate quieter speech with deference...
February 8, 2019: Language and Speech
Gareth Carrol, Kathy Conklin
Research into recurrent, highly conventionalized "formulaic" sequences has shown a processing advantage compared to "novel" (non-formulaic) language. Studies of individual types of formulaic sequence often acknowledge the contribution of specific factors, but little work exists to compare the processing of different types of phrases with fundamentally different properties. We use eye-tracking to compare the processing of three types of formulaic phrases-idioms, binomials, and collocations-and consider whether overall frequency can explain the advantage for all three, relative to control phrases...
January 29, 2019: Language and Speech
Mary Baltazani, Stella Gryllia, Amalia Arvaniti
We experimentally tested three hypotheses regarding the pragmatics of two tunes (one high-ending, one flat-ending) used with Greek wh-questions: (a) the high-ending tune is associated with information-seeking questions, while the flat-ending tune is also appropriate when wh-questions are not information-seeking, in which case their function can instead be akin to that of a statement; (b) the high-ending tune is more polite, and (c) more appropriate for contexts leading to information-seeking questions. The wh-questions used as experimental stimuli were elicited from four speakers in contexts likely to lead to either information-seeking or non-information-seeking uses...
January 25, 2019: Language and Speech
Constantijn Kaland, Nikolaus P Himmelmann
It has frequently been shown that speakers prosodically reduce repeated words in discourse. This phenomenon has been claimed to facilitate speech recognition and to be language universal. In particular, the relationship between the information value of a word in a discourse context and its prosodic prominence have been shown to correlate. However, a literature review provided in this paper reveals that most evidence comes from English, where prosodic marking of information status often coincides with repetition reduction...
January 8, 2019: Language and Speech
Odette Scharenborg, Sofoklis Kakouros, Brechtje Post, Fanny Meunier
This paper investigates whether sentence accent detection in a non-native language is dependent on (relative) similarity between prosodic cues to accent between the non-native and the native language, and whether cross-linguistic differences in the use of local and more widely distributed (i.e., non-local) cues to sentence accent detection lead to differential effects of the presence of background noise on sentence accent detection in a non-native language. We compared Dutch, Finnish, and French non-native listeners of English, whose cueing and use of prosodic prominence is gradually further removed from English, and compared their results on a phoneme monitoring task in different levels of noise and a quiet condition to those of native listeners...
January 4, 2019: Language and Speech
Bettina Braun, Nicole Dehé, Jana Neitsch, Daniela Wochner, Katharina Zahner
This paper reports on the prosody of rhetorical questions (RQs) and information-seeking questions (ISQs) in German for two question types-polar questions and constituent questions (henceforth " wh-questions"). The results are as follows: Phonologically, polar RQs were mainly realized with H-% (high plateau), while polar ISQs mostly ended in H-^H% (high-rise). Wh-RQs almost exclusively terminated in a low edge tone, whereas wh-ISQs allowed for more tonal variation (L-%, L-H%, H-^H%). Irrespective of question type, RQs were mainly produced with L*+H accents...
December 19, 2018: Language and Speech
Bettina Braun, Yuki Asano, Nicole Dehé
This study investigates how pitch accent type and additive particles affect the activation of contrastive alternatives. In Experiment 1, German listeners heard declarative utterances (e.g., The swimmer wanted to put on flippers) and saw four printed words displayed on screen: one that was a contrastive alternative to the subject noun (e.g., diver), one that was non-contrastively related (e.g., pool), the object (e.g., flippers), and an unrelated distractor. Experiment 1 manipulated pitch accent type, comparing a broad focus control condition to two narrow focus conditions: with a contrastive or non-contrastive accent on the subject noun (nuclear L+H* vs...
December 5, 2018: Language and Speech
Yael Farhy, João Veríssimo
To what extent is morphological representation in different languages dependent on semantic information? Unlike Indo-European languages, the Semitic mental lexicon has been argued to be purely "morphologically driven", with complex stems represented in a decomposed format (root + vowel pattern) irrespectively of their semantic properties. We have examined this claim by comparing cross-modal root-priming effects elicited by Hebrew verbs of a productive, open-ended class (Piel) and verbs of a closed-class (Paal)...
November 30, 2018: Language and Speech
Christine Shea
The eight articles in this special issue 'Learning to listen from sounds to words' were presented at the conference Sound to Word in Bilingual and Second Language Speech Perception held at the University of Iowa in spring 2016. The selected contributions focus on how second language speech perception interacts with orthography, how phonology interacts with speech perception and how listeners use the cues in the input to segment and create the word forms for lexical processing. This collection of papers expands the field of speech perception and production by granting a central role to the lexicon and exploring how listeners and speakers activate representations, from sounds to words...
December 2018: Language and Speech
Marta Ortega-Llebaria, Daniel J Olson, Alba Tuninetti
Cross-language studies have shown that English speakers use suprasegmental cues to lexical stress less consistently than speakers of Spanish and other Germanic languages ; accordingly, these studies have attributed this asymmetry to a possible trade-off between the use of vowel reduction and suprasegmental cues in lexical access. We put forward the hypothesis that this "cue trade-off" modulates intonation processing as well, so that English speakers make less use of suprasegmental cues in comparison to Spanish speakers when processing intonation in utterances causing processing asymmetries between these two languages...
November 16, 2018: Language and Speech
Miriam Baigorri, Luca Campanelli, Erika S Levy
Increasing numbers of Hispanic immigrants are entering the US and learning American-English (AE) as a second language (L2). Previous studies investigating the relationship between AE and Spanish vowels have revealed an advantage for early L2 learners for their accuracy of L2 vowel perception. Replicating and extending such previous research, this study examined the patterns with which early and late Spanish-English bilingual adults assimilated naturally-produced AE vowels to their native vowel inventory and the accuracy with which they discriminated the vowels...
October 25, 2018: Language and Speech
Juan Zhang, Timothy Teo, Chenggang Wu
Emotion words modulate conflict processing, even at an early stage (i.e., N200). However, the previous studies implicitly mixed emotion-label words and emotion-laden words together and mostly concentrated on first language (L1) rather than on second language (L2). The current study aimed to investigate whether L2 negative emotion-label words, negative emotion-laden words, and neutral words would affect conflict processing in a flanker task by using event-related potential (ERP) measurements. Twenty Chinese-English bilinguals completed a modified flanker task to decide the color of the target words...
October 24, 2018: Language and Speech
Julia Krebs, Ronnie B Wilbur, Phillip M Alday, Dietmar Roehm
Previous studies of Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS) word-order variations have demonstrated the human processing system's tendency to interpret a sentence-initial (case-) ambiguous argument as the subject of the clause ("subject preference"). The electroencephalogram study motivating the current report revealed earlier reanalysis effects for object-subject compared to subject-object sentences, in particular, before the start of the movement of the agreement marking sign. The effects were bound to time points prior to when both arguments were referenced in space and/or the transitional hand movement prior to producing the disambiguating sign...
October 24, 2018: Language and Speech
Kimiko Tsukada, Mariko Kondo
This study examines the perception of Mandarin lexical tones by native speakers of Burmese who use lexical tones in their first language (L1) but are naïve to Mandarin. Unlike Mandarin tones, which are primarily cued by pitch, Burmese tones are cued by phonation type as well as pitch. The question of interest is whether Burmese listeners can utilize their L1 experience in processing unfamiliar Mandarin tones. Burmese listeners' discrimination accuracy was compared with that of Mandarin listeners and Australian English listeners...
October 20, 2018: Language and Speech
Miquel Llompart, Eva Reinisch
This study investigated the relationship between imitation and both the perception and production abilities of second language (L2) learners for two non-native contrasts differing in their expected degree of difficulty. German learners of English were tested on perceptual categorization, imitation and a word reading task for the difficult English /ɛ/-/æ/ contrast, which tends not to be well encoded in the learners' phonological inventories, and the easy, near-native /i/-/ɪ/ contrast. As expected, within-task comparisons between contrasts revealed more robust perception and better differentiation during production for /i/-/ɪ/ than /ɛ/-/æ/...
October 15, 2018: Language and Speech
Annie Tremblay, Elsa Spinelli, Caitlin E Coughlin, Jui Namjoshi
This study investigates whether syntactic cues take precedence over distributional cues in native and non-native speech segmentation by examining native and non-native speech segmentation in potential French-liaison contexts. Native French listeners and English-speaking second-language learners of French completed a visual-world eye-tracking experiment. Half the stimuli contained the pivotal consonant /t/, a frequent word onset but infrequent liaison consonant, and half contained /z/, a frequent liaison consonant but rare word onset...
September 25, 2018: Language and Speech
Lan-Fen Huang
This corpus-based study examines the widely-used discourse marker well in Chinese-speaking learners' speech and compares its frequencies in native speaker data and Swedish learners. While Swedish learners overuse well, Chinese-speaking learners (predominantly at the upper-intermediate level) significantly underuse it. The positions and functions of well are further examined using a functional framework. One-fourth of the Chinese-speaking learners who use well manipulate its positions in utterances in a similar way to native speakers...
September 20, 2018: Language and Speech
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