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.
CitationChoi, 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
- Tone language expertise
- Second language learning
- Lexical stress
- Lexical tone
- Cross-language speech perception