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Method Participants Fifty-six undergraduate students (age range 19-37), 14 in each of the four language groups (monolingual, Spanish-English bilingual,

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Presentation on theme: "Method Participants Fifty-six undergraduate students (age range 19-37), 14 in each of the four language groups (monolingual, Spanish-English bilingual,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Method Participants Fifty-six undergraduate students (age range 19-37), 14 in each of the four language groups (monolingual, Spanish-English bilingual, Armenian-English bilingual, multilingual). Materials and Procedure Detailed language background surveys were collected, and checked for accuracy with semi-structured interviews. E-Prime 2.0 software ran the Korean speech-sound discrimination task, with 108 trials. Participants heard three words, A B X. They matched A or B to the target X by pressing 1 or 2 on the keyboard. Acknowledgments Many thanks to members of the National Science Foundation funded Linguistic Minority Development Research Laboratory at California State University, Northridge, who contributed to the project in a number of ways: Marissa Weyer, Bertha Nash, Kyungwon Kang, Mariko Iwabuchi, Gloria Chanyang Lee, Jonathan Zeledon and Martin Nalasco. We also thank Sahyang Kim and Dr. Sun-Ah Jun at UCLA who helped in the creation of the sound files for the experiment. Results An ANOVA comparing the four groups on Korean speech-sound perception revealed a main effect of group, F(3, 51) = 5.68, p =.002, η 2 =.247. Tukey post-hoc analyses revealed: Spanish-English bilinguals scored lower than both Armenian-English bilinguals and multilinguals (ps <.05), no other significant group differences Discussion The results of this study suggest that for every additional language you are fluent in, it gives you a small advantage in hearing the phonemes of an unrelated language. In short, it gives you a small starting advantage. Since the Armenian-English bilingual group scored reliably higher than the Spanish-English bilingual group, we hypothesize that if there are similar speech-sounds between the bilingual’s and the target language then this gives an advantage. No differences between the monolingual and bilingual Spanish group suggests that it may not simply be that being bilingual alone gives an advantage in hearing speech sounds. The correlations revealed that the number of languages you overheard before the age of 3 gives a bigger advantage to hearing Korean speech-sounds than does the number of languages you are currently fluent in. This is consistent with past research that has theorized that early language exposure is important in the development of hearing speech-sound distinctions and flexibility in categorizing those sounds (Kuhl et al., 2005). Kuhl and others theorized that language overhearing in the first year of life is most crucial for speech-sound categorization. Our study does not overturn those findings, but we found overhearing under the age of 3 was more predictive in this sample. Lawrence Patihis and Janet Oh, PhD Department of Psychology, California State University, Northridge References Cenoz, J. (2003). The additive effect of bilingualism on third language acquisition: A review. International Journal of Bilingualism, Enomoto, K. (1994). L2 perception acquisition: The effect of multilingual linguistic experience on the perception of a less novel contrast. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, Kaushanskaya, M., Marian, V. (2009). Bilingualism reduces native-language interference during novel-word learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Kuhl, P.K., Conboy, B.T., Padden, D., Nelson, T., & Pruitt, J. (2005). Early speech perception and later language development: Implications for the “critical period.” Language Learning and Development, –264 Werker, J. (1986). The effects of multilingualism on phonetic flexibility. Applied Psycholinguistics, Figure 1. Screenshot of phoneme perception task instructions Figure 2. Accuracy on phoneme perception task by group There was a reliable, small correlation of r =.294 between the number of languages in which the participant was fluent and accuracy in the perception task, p =.028: For further information Please contact or at California State University, Northridge. Monolingual, Bilingual, and Multilingual Individuals’ Perception of Unfamiliar Speech-Sounds Introduction In some cases, bilingualism has been found to be associated with higher proficiency when acquiring a third language (Cenoz, 2003). Kauchanskaya and Marian (2009) found bilinguals performed better than monolinguals in the learning of phonologically unfamiliar novel words. With regard to bilingual advantages in speech-sound perception of an unrelated language the evidence is mixed: e.g. Enotomo (1994, N = 10) found a statistically significant bilingual advantage, while Werker (1986, N = 26) did not. In this study (N = 56), we examined this potential bilingual-over- monolingual advantage more closely, by examining whether bilingual and multilingual (three or more languages) individuals of various language backgrounds showed an advantage when distinguishing among the speech sounds of a language to which they have never been exposed. In particular, we examined the abilities of English monolinguals, Spanish-English bilinguals, Armenian-English bilinguals, and multilinguals in distinguishing the speech sounds of an unrelated language, Korean. Research questions: 1. Does fluency in more than one language help distinguishing among the speech sounds of an unrelated language, giving an initial advantage to mulitilinguals in learning a new language? 2. Does early childhood overhearing of more than one language help in distinguishing among the speech sounds of a new language? Figure 3. Scatter-plot of number of languages in which participants were fluent by accuracy on phoneme perception task There was a reliable correlation of r =.381 between the number of languages overheard before the age of 5 and accuracy in the perception task, p =.004: Figure 6. Scatter-plot of number of languages overheard before the age of 5 by accuracy on phoneme perception task We found the largest reliable correlation of r =.437 between the number of languages overheard before the age of 3 and accuracy in the perception task, p =.001: There was a slightly larger reliable correlation of r =.319 between the number of languages overheard before the age of 1 and accuracy in the perception task, p =.016: Figure 5. Scatter-plot of number of languages overheard before the age of 3 by accuracy on phoneme perception task Figure 4. Scatter-plot of number of languages overheard before the age of 1 by accuracy on phoneme perception task


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