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Bilingual speech perception in noise: effects of target predictability, noise type, and language background

Varley, Sarah (2020) Bilingual speech perception in noise: effects of target predictability, noise type, and language background. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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To examine how different types of noise and potential context benefits impact various groups of listeners (English monolinguals, English-Spanish L2 bilinguals, and English-Spanish heritage bilinguals), we utilized a word transcription task where participants heard English sentences in four different noise conditions (clear, speech-shaped noise, English two-talker babble and Spanish two-talker babble) and in high or low predictability sentences. Participants were instructed to type the final, target word of the sentence they heard into a text box. Results suggested that the ability to use sentence context as a SPIN resource is related not only to different processing demands, but also varying cognitive control abilities, strength of L2 activation and whether the L2 was learned natively (i.e. heritage bilinguals) or non-natively (L2 bilinguals). Findings also displayed that the overall accuracy in each noise condition varied across speaker groups. More specifically, even when speaker groups performed with the same global accuracy, differences in accuracy between the high and low predictability conditions reflect differences in how each group approached and coped with the task. Findings from the present study display intricate differences in how monolingual, L2, and heritage speakers can cope with noise and use context to their advantage. Ultimately, findings suggest that L2 bilinguals, who developed an English representation completely independent of Spanish, appear to be less adversely impacted by English noise than heritage bilinguals, whose English representations have never existed entirely independent of their Spanish representations. Importantly, this underscores a difference in how two groups that both identify as native English speakers bilingual in Spanish are impacted differently during speech perception in environments of native L1 noise.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Varley, Sarahsrv29@pitt.edusrv290000-0002-7517-5310
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFricke,
Date: 2 December 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 November 2020
Approval Date: 2 December 2020
Submission Date: 20 November 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 45
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: speech perception in noise, informational masking, context, bilingual
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2020 18:27
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2020 18:27


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