You are here: Home Publications Listeners retune phoneme categories across languages

Listeners retune phoneme categories across languages

Reinisch, E., Weber, A., & Mitterer, H. (2013). Listeners retune phoneme categories across languages. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39, 75-86. doi:10.1037/a0027979.
Native listeners adapt to noncanonically produced speech by retuning phoneme boundaries by means of lexical knowledge. We asked whether a second language lexicon can also guide category retuning and whether perceptual learning transfers from a second language (L2) to the native language (L1). During a Dutch lexical-decision task, German and Dutch listeners were exposed to unusual pronunciation variants in which word-final /f/ or /s/ was replaced by an ambiguous sound. At test, listeners categorized Dutch minimal word pairs ending in sounds along an /f/–/s/ continuum. Dutch L1 and German L2 listeners showed boundary shifts of a similar magnitude. Moreover, following exposure to Dutch-accented English, Dutch listeners also showed comparable effects of category retuning when they heard the same speaker speak her native language (Dutch) during the test. The former result suggests that lexical representations in a second language are specific enough to support lexically guided retuning, and the latter implies that production patterns in a second language are deemed a stable speaker characteristic likely to transfer to the native language; thus retuning of phoneme categories applies across languages.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn