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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Sep;128(3):1357-65. doi: 10.1121/1.3466857.

Talker-listener accent interactions in speech-in-noise recognition: effects of prosodic manipulation as a function of language experience.

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  • 1Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, Chandler House, 2 Wakefield Street, London WC1N 1PF, United Kingdom.


Previous work has shown that accents affect speech recognition accuracy in noise, with intelligibility being modulated by the similarity between the talkers' and listeners' accents, particularly in the case where they have different L1s. The present study examined the contribution of prosody to recognizing native (L1) and non-native (L2) speech in noise, and how this is affected by the listener's L2 experience. A group of monolingual English listeners and two groups of French listeners with varying L2 English experience were presented with English sentences produced by L1 and L2 (French) speakers. The stimuli were digitally processed to exchange the pitch and segment durations between recordings of the same sentences produced by different speakers (e.g., imposing a French-accented prosody onto recordings made from English speakers). The results revealed that English listeners were more accurate at recognizing L1 English with English prosody, the French inexperienced listeners were more accurate at recognizing French-accented speech with French prosody, and the French experienced listeners varied in the cues that they used depending on the noise level, showing more flexibility of processing. The use of prosodic cues in noise thus appears to be modulated by language experience and varies according to listening context.

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