Processing foreign-accented speech in a second language: Evidence from ERPs during sentence comprehension in bilinguals

Sarah Grey, Laura C. Schubel, James M. McQueen, Adriana Van Hell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined electrophysiological correlates of sentence comprehension of native-accented and foreign-accented speech in a second language (L2), for sentences produced in a foreign accent different from that associated with the listeners' L1. Bilingual speaker-listeners process different accents in their L2 conversations, but the effects on real-time L2 sentence comprehension are unknown. Dutch-English bilinguals listened to native American-English accented sentences and foreign (and for them unfamiliarly-accented) Chinese-English accented sentences while EEG was recorded. Behavioral sentence comprehension was highly accurate for both native-accented and foreign-accented sentences. ERPs showed different patterns for L2 grammar and semantic processing of native- and foreign-accented speech. For grammar, only native-accented speech elicited an Nref. For semantics, both native- and foreign-accented speech elicited an N400 effect, but with a delayed onset across both accent conditions. These findings suggest that the way listeners comprehend native- and foreign-accented sentences in their L2 depends on their familiarity with the accent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBilingualism
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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comprehension
listener
language
evidence
grammar
semantics
conversation
Sentence Comprehension
Language
Listeners
Accent
Grammar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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title = "Processing foreign-accented speech in a second language: Evidence from ERPs during sentence comprehension in bilinguals",
abstract = "This study examined electrophysiological correlates of sentence comprehension of native-accented and foreign-accented speech in a second language (L2), for sentences produced in a foreign accent different from that associated with the listeners' L1. Bilingual speaker-listeners process different accents in their L2 conversations, but the effects on real-time L2 sentence comprehension are unknown. Dutch-English bilinguals listened to native American-English accented sentences and foreign (and for them unfamiliarly-accented) Chinese-English accented sentences while EEG was recorded. Behavioral sentence comprehension was highly accurate for both native-accented and foreign-accented sentences. ERPs showed different patterns for L2 grammar and semantic processing of native- and foreign-accented speech. For grammar, only native-accented speech elicited an Nref. For semantics, both native- and foreign-accented speech elicited an N400 effect, but with a delayed onset across both accent conditions. These findings suggest that the way listeners comprehend native- and foreign-accented sentences in their L2 depends on their familiarity with the accent.",
author = "Sarah Grey and Schubel, {Laura C.} and McQueen, {James M.} and {Van Hell}, Adriana",
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Processing foreign-accented speech in a second language : Evidence from ERPs during sentence comprehension in bilinguals. / Grey, Sarah; Schubel, Laura C.; McQueen, James M.; Van Hell, Adriana.

In: Bilingualism, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Van Hell, Adriana

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