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Different Kinds of Specificity Across Languages

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Barbara Hemforth. Phrase Structure in Natural Language. The Routledge Handbook of Semantics. Nick Riemer. In order to verify this pattern with more closely matching testing conditions across the two groups of bilinguals, we conducted a second analysis that focused on the L1 Mandarin and L1 Korean intelligibility scores from the —4 dB and —5 dB signal-to-noise ratio conditions, respectively; and L2 Mandarin-accented English and L2 Korean-accented English intelligibility both from -0 dB signal-to-noise ratio conditions.

The results of this analysis were consistent with the analysis reported above. This pattern of results—a dissociation between L1 and L2 intelligibility in absolute terms paired with an association of L1 and L2 intelligibility in relative terms—provides supporting evidence for overall intelligibility as an index of a talker-specific speech production trait that persists across status-specificity L1 versus L2 status and language-specificity in this case, English versus either Mandarin or Korean. Table 3 shows the average value for each of the acoustic parameters measured across all talkers and sentences for each of the two groups of bilingual talkers in both their L1 and L2.

For each parameter, we built a linear model with fixed effects for Status of the task language L1 versus L2, contrast coded as 0.

Different Kinds of Specificity Across Languages | Cornelia Ebert | Springer

We then used model comparison to assess significance by comparing the model with the factor of interest to a model with just that factor deleted n-1 changes. For F0 mean and LTASS slope, the statistical analyses showed no main effects or interactions, indicating that these parameters remain stable across L1 and L2 speech production for both groups of bilingual talkers. For F0 range, there was no main effect of L1 vs.

This Group-based difference for F0 range may reflect different functions of pitch variation in Korean, Mandarin, and English resulting in greater L1-L2 differentiation for the Korean-English bilinguals compared to the Mandarin-English bilinguals. However a full exploration of this difference would require more extensive datasets with materials designed to more directly compare both word-level and phrase-level prosody across the languages.

This pattern suggests that these source-related features exhibit a talker-specific trait that is both language-independent and status-independent. Average acoustic measurements for all talkers in both their L1 and L2. Numbers represent averages across all talkers and sentences in each condition. The present study provides evidence of a dissociation between L1 and L2 speech intelligibility in absolute terms and an association of L1 and L2 speech intelligibility in relative terms within a group of Mandarin-English and Korean-English bilinguals. That is, while all of the bilingual talkers were more intelligible in their L1 than in their L2 for native listeners of the language being spoken, talkers who were relatively high intelligibility in their L1 were also relatively high intelligibility in their L2.

It is unsurprising that bilinguals vary substantially in their L2 speech intelligibility. Indeed, wide differences in all aspects of L2 performance is a hallmark of L2 learning. This variability stems from well-known interactions between the structures of the particular co-existing L1 and L2, as well as the general challenges of second language learning regardless of the particular source and target languages involved. Language-specific L1-to-L2 transfers presumably result in commonalities across groups of bilinguals such that particular foreign accents can be distinguished from each other e.

However, it is important to note that studies of identification and discrimination of foreign accents have yielded variable patterns, and have demonstrated a strong influence of degree of foreign accentedness on classification of accents into L1-based groups i. For example, Atagi and Bent found higher classification accuracy for high-intelligibility foreign-accented English sentences than for low-intelligibility foreign-accented English sentences, suggesting that, despite the fact that low-intelligibility sentences presumably contain more L1-to-L2 phonetic transfers, the greater processing demands of attending to difficult-to-understand sentences interferes with the classification task.

Nevertheless, the critical role of language-specific L1-to-L2 phonetic and phonological transfer in L2 speech production has been extensively documented see Davidson, , for a review. In addition to language-specific sources of variation, L2 speech production variability derives from cognitive features of bilingualism and the related challenges of speaking in an L2. Such status-specificity L1 versus L2 status is reflected in features such as the typically slower speaking rate of L2 speech relative to L1 speech regardless of the particular L1 and L2 involved e.

It is also well-established that native talker i. Interestingly, this prior work on variation in L1 intelligibility has indicated substantial individual variation in overall intelligibility in the absence of any explicit or implicit instruction to enhance intelligibility i. As discussed above, acoustic-phonetic comparisons of both inter- and intra-talker variability have identified a wide range of acoustic correlates of intelligibility see Cooke et al.

In general, these intelligibility-related acoustic-phonetic variations can be viewed as being guided by the goals of greater acoustic salience and audibility at the utterance level in combination with enhanced phonetic contrast between phonologically distinct categories. While the distal source of individual variation in L1 speech production—both baseline and adaptive—remains unclear, such variation is likely determined by a combination of peripheral mechanisms i. Due to the different underlying sources of L2 and L1 variation, it is conceivable that there would be no connection on an individual level between variation in L1 intelligibility and variation in L2 intelligibility.

Yet, the present data showed a strong positive association between relative intelligibility in L1 and L2 in bilingual talkers, such that variation in L1 intelligibility predicts variation in L2 intelligibility. This pattern strongly suggests that talker-specificity is not necessarily constrained by either language-specificity or L1 versus L2 status-specificity.

Instead, overall speech intelligibility is sensitive to a talker-specific trait characteristic that combines with, rather than is overwhelmed by, language-specific and dominance-dependent influences on bilingual speech production. Within specific communicative settings, this confluence of individual-level and group-level influences on bilingual speech production will presumably modulate and be modulated by the adaptive mechanisms that seek to balance talker-oriented and listener-oriented constraints i.

For example, we might speculate that talker-specific characteristics may be attenuated in hyper-articulated, clear speech where discriminability of linguistic contrasts is prioritized. Similarly, the expression of individual-level traits across the time-course of second language learning and across various types of bilingualism i.

It remains for future research to determine exactly how individual-level and group-level influences in bilingual speech production are integrated with both the short-term dynamics of speech communication in specific conversational situations and with the longer-term dynamics of second language acquisition. Finally, growing evidence of language-independent talker-specificity in bilingual speech production raises the question of whether we might observe a parallel link between L1 and L2 speech perception.

There is a small but expanding literature indicating such a link e. Specifically, the Korean-English dataset preceded the Mandarin-English dataset. This situation accounts for some of the methodological differences between the two datasets reported in this paper, including test location USA for L1 Mandarin intelligibility versus Korea for L1 Korean intelligibility and signal-to-noise ratios two conditions —4 dB and —8 dB for L1 Mandarin intelligibility versus one condition —5 dB for L1 Korean intelligibility.

Nevertheless, because the critical comparisons for this study are within each group relationship between L1 and L2 intelligibility within bilinguals , these relatively minor differences do not undercut interpretation of the data. Scores in the 50—75 range are considered lower-intermediate to advanced proficiency in English. For comparison, note that graduate students at Northwestern University are required to achieve a Versant score of 65 in order to be eligible to serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course. Moreover, many of the acoustic-phonetic characteristics of clear speech are not rate-related.

By focusing on variation in intelligibility as indexed by native listener recognition accuracy, the present study compares L1 and L2 speech samples within and across bilingual talkers in terms of the combination of rate-related and rate-independent articulatory-acoustic features that account for variation in intelligibility. Allen, J. Individual talker differences in voice-onset-time. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , , — Atagi, E. Auditory free classification of nonnative speech. Journal of Phonetics , 41, — Baese-Berk, M. Speaking rate consistency in native and non-native speakers of English.

Bamford, J. Methodological considerations and practical aspects of the BKB sentence lists. In: Bench, J. London, UK: Academic Press. Boersma, P. Praat, a system for doing phonetics by computer. Praat: Doing phonetics by computer [Computer program]. Version 6. Bond, Z. A note on the acoustic phonetic characteristics of inadvertently clear speech. Speech Communication , 14 4 , — Bradlow, A.

Language- and talker-dependent variation in global features of native and non-native speech. The clear speech effect for non-native listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , 1 , — Language-independent talker-specificity in first-language and second-language speech production by bilingual talkers. Intelligibility of normal speech I: Global and fine-grained acoustic-phonetic talker characteristics. Speech Communication , 20, — Cooke, M. The listening talker: A review of human and algorithmic context-induced modifications of speech.

Computer Speech and Language , 28, — Davidson, L. Phonetic and phonological factors in the second language production of phonemes and phonotactics. Language and Linguistics Compass , 5 3 , — De Jong, N. Second language fluency: Speaking style or proficiency? Correcting measures of second language fluency for first language behavior. Applied Psycholinguistics , 36 2 , 1— Derwing, T. Accent, intelligibility, and comprehensibility: Evidence from four L1s.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition , 19, 1— The relationship between L1 fluency and L2 fluency development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition , 31, — Brain potentials to native phoneme discrimination reveal the origin of individual differences in learning the sounds of a second language. Earle, F. Native phonological processing abilities predict post-consolidation nonnative contrast learning in adults. Ferguson, S. Talker differences in clear and conversational speech: Vowel intelligibility for normal-hearing listeners.

Talker differences in clear and conversational speech: Vowel intelligibility for listeners with hearing loss. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , 55, — Vowel intelligibility in clear and conversational speech for normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners. Talker differences in clear and conversational speech: Acoustic characteristics of vowels. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , 50, — Flege, J. Accent, intelligibility, and comprehensibility.

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , 97 5 , — Granlund, S. An acoustic-phonetic comparison of the clear speaking styles of Finnish—English late bilinguals. Journal of Phonetics , 40 3 , — Guion, S. Age of learning effects on the duration of sentences produced in a second language.

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      Different Kinds Of Specificity Across Languages Hinterwimmer Stefan Ebert Cornelia

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      Language-independent talker-specificity in bilingual speech intelligibility: Individual traits persist across first-language and second-language speech. Bradlow, Ann R. Start Submission Become a Reviewer. Reading: Language-independent talker-specificity in bilingual speech intelligibility: Individual trai Authors: Ann R. Abstract The present study provides evidence of a positive correlation between L1 and L2 intelligibility for bilingual talkers.

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      How to Cite: Bradlow, A. Published on 09 Oct Peer Reviewed. CC BY 4. Introduction Every spoken utterance conveys linguistic information what is being said and indexical information specifying the context in which the sentence should be understood who is speaking, where and when the utterance is spoken. Methods 2. Overview We tested overall L1 and L2 intelligibility in two groups of bilingual talkers: a group of Mandarin-English bilinguals and a group of Korean-English bilinguals.

      Talkers Fourteen Mandarin-English bilinguals 11 males, 3 females; mean age 23 years were recruited to record sentences both in their L1, Mandarin, and in their L2, English. Listeners Native listeners of Mandarin were recruited for the L1 Mandarin speech intelligibility test. Table 1 Distribution of talkers, sentences, and listeners across the four intelligibility tests.