Cutler, A., Murty, L., & Otake, T.
(2003). Rhythmic similarity effects in non-native listening? In Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (PCPhS 2003) (pp. 329-332). Adelaide: Causal Productions.
Listeners rely on native-language rhythm in segmenting speech; in different languages, stress-, syllable- or
mora-based rhythm is exploited. This language-specificity affects listening to non- native speech, if native procedures
are applied even though inefficient for the non-native language. However, speakers of two languages with similar
rhythmic interpretation should segment their own and the other language similarly. This was observed to date only for
related languages (English-Dutch; French-Spanish). We now report experiments in which Japanese listeners heard
Telugu, a Dravidian language unrelated to Japanese, and Telugu listeners heard Japanese. In both cases detection of
target sequences in speech was harder when target boundaries mismatched mora boundaries, exactly the
pattern that Japanese listeners earlier exhibited with Japanese and other languages. These results suggest that
Telugu and Japanese listeners use similar procedures in segmenting speech, and support the idea that languages fall
into rhythmic classes, with aspects of phonological structure affecting listeners' speech segmentation.