Better than native: Tone language experience enhances English lexical stress discrimination in Cantonese-English bilingual listeners

Tsun Man William CHOI, Xiuli TONG, Arthur G. SAMUEL

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

While many second language (L2) listeners are known to struggle when discriminating non-native features absent in their first language (L1), no study has reported that L2 listeners perform better than native listeners in this regard. The present study tested whether Cantonese-English bilinguals were better in discriminating English lexical stress in individual words or pseudowords than native English listeners, even though lexical stress is absent in Cantonese. In experiments manipulating acoustic, phonotactic, and lexical cues, Cantonese-English bilingual adults exhibited superior performance in discriminating English lexical stress than native English listeners across all phonotactic/lexical conditions when the fundamental frequency (f0) cue to lexical stress was present. The findings underscore the facilitative effect of Cantonese tone language experience on English lexical stress discrimination. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-192
JournalCognition
Volume189
Early online dateApr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Citation

Choi, W., Tong, X., & Samuel, A. G. (2019). Better than native: Tone language experience enhances English lexical stress discrimination in Cantonese-English bilingual listeners. Cognition, 189, 188-192. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.04.004

Keywords

  • Tone language expertise
  • Second language learning
  • Lexical stress
  • Lexical tone
  • Cross-language speech perception

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