A limit on behavioral plasticity in speech perception.

Pallier, C. and Bosch, L. and Sebastian-Gallés, N. (1997) A limit on behavioral plasticity in speech perception. [Journal (Paginated)]

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It is well attested that we perceive speech through the filter of our native language: a classic example is that of Japanese listeners who cannot discriminate between the American /l/ and /r/ and identify both as their own /r/ phoneme (Goto, 1971). Studies in the laboratory have shown, however, that perception of non-native speech sounds can be learned through training (Lively, Pisoni, Yamada, & Tohkura, 1994). This is consistent with neurophysiological evidence showing considerable experience-dependent plasticity in the brain at the first levels of sensory processing (Edeline & Weinberger, 1993; Kraus, et al., 1995; Merzenich & Sameshima, 1993; Weinberger, 1993). Outside of the laboratory, however, the situation seems to differ: we here report a study involving Spanish-Catalan bilingual subjects who have had the best opportunities to learn a new contrast but did not do it. Our study demonstrates a striking lack of behavioral plasticity: early and extensive exposure to a second language is not sufficient to attain the ultimate phonological competence of native speakers.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:psycholinguistics, speech perception, bilingualism, critical period, phonetics, phonology, learnability, plasticity, phonemes, Catalan, Spanish, perception.
Subjects:Linguistics > Phonology
Neuroscience > Neurolinguistics
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Psycholinguistics
Psychology > Psychophysics
ID Code:743
Deposited By: Pallier, Christophe
Deposited On:15 Oct 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54


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