15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Rhythmic Similarity Effects in Non-Native Listening?

Anne Cutler (1), Lalita Murty (1), Takashi Otake (2)

(1) Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands
(2) Dokkyo University, Japan

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.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cutler, Anne / Murty, Lalita / Otake, Takashi (2003): "Rhythmic similarity effects in non-native listening?", In ICPhS-15, 329-332.