Semantic and phonetic enhancements for speech-in-noise recognition by native and non-native listeners

Ann R. Bradlow*, Jennifer A. Alexander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research has shown that speech recognition differences between native and proficient non-native listeners emerge under suboptimal conditions. Current evidence has suggested that the key deficit that underlies this disproportionate effect of unfavorable listening conditions for non-native listeners is their less effective use of compensatory information at higher levels of processing to recover from information loss at the phoneme identification level. The present study investigated whether this non-native disadvantage could be overcome if enhancements at various levels of processing were presented in combination. Native and non-native listeners were presented with English sentences in which the final word varied in predictability and which were produced in either plain or clear speech. Results showed that, relative to the low-predictability-plain-speech baseline condition, non-native listener final word recognition improved only when both semantic and acoustic enhancements were available (high-predictability-clear-speech). In contrast, the native listeners benefited from each source of enhancement separately and in combination. These results suggests that native and non-native listeners apply similar strategies for speech-in-noise perception: The crucial difference is in the signal clarity required for contextual information to be effective, rather than in an inability of non-native listeners to take advantage of this contextual information per se.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2339-2349
Number of pages11
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume121
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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