Acoustic–Phonetic Versus Lexical Processing in Nonnative Listeners Differing in Their Dominant Language Purpose Nonnative listeners have difficulty recognizing English words due to underdeveloped acoustic–phonetic and/or lexical skills. The present study used Boothroyd and Nittrouer's (1988)  j factor to tease apart these two components of word recognition. Method Participants included 15 native English and 29 native Russian listeners. Fourteen and 15 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 2016
Acoustic–Phonetic Versus Lexical Processing in Nonnative Listeners Differing in Their Dominant Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lu-Feng Shi
    Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY
  • Laura L. Koenig
    Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Lu-Feng Shi: lu.shi@liu.edu
  • Editor: Sumitrajit Dhar
    Editor: Sumitrajit Dhar×
  • Associate Editor: Lauren Calandruccio
    Associate Editor: Lauren Calandruccio×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 2016
Acoustic–Phonetic Versus Lexical Processing in Nonnative Listeners Differing in Their Dominant Language
American Journal of Audiology, September 2016, Vol. 25, 167-176. doi:10.1044/2016_AJA-15-0082
History: Received December 16, 2015 , Revised March 8, 2016 , Accepted March 18, 2016
 
American Journal of Audiology, September 2016, Vol. 25, 167-176. doi:10.1044/2016_AJA-15-0082
History: Received December 16, 2015; Revised March 8, 2016; Accepted March 18, 2016

Purpose Nonnative listeners have difficulty recognizing English words due to underdeveloped acoustic–phonetic and/or lexical skills. The present study used Boothroyd and Nittrouer's (1988)  j factor to tease apart these two components of word recognition.

Method Participants included 15 native English and 29 native Russian listeners. Fourteen and 15 of the Russian listeners reported English (ED) and Russian (RD) to be their dominant language, respectively. Listeners were presented 119 consonant–vowel–consonant real and nonsense words in speech-spectrum noise at +6 dB SNR. Responses were scored for word and phoneme recognition, the logarithmic quotient of which yielded j.

Results Word and phoneme recognition was comparable between native and ED listeners but poorer in RD listeners. Analysis of j indicated less effective use of lexical information in RD than in native and ED listeners. Lexical processing was strongly correlated with the length of residence in the United States.

Conclusions Language background is important for nonnative word recognition. Lexical skills can be regarded as nativelike in ED nonnative listeners. Compromised word recognition in ED listeners is unlikely a result of poor lexical processing. Performance should be interpreted with caution for listeners dominant in their first language, whose word recognition is affected by both lexical and acoustic–phonetic factors.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank all the volunteers who participated in this study, as well as Doug Honorof and Yvonne Law for their help. Portions of this article were presented at the 160th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.
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