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Phonetic contrasts in foreign language perception: a neuropsychological study on Serbian affricates


Kaufmann, Nuria; Meyer, Martin; Schmid, Stephan (2010). Phonetic contrasts in foreign language perception: a neuropsychological study on Serbian affricates. In: Schmid, Stephan; Schwarzenbach, Michael; Studer, Dieter. La dimensione temporale del parlato. Torriana: EDK, 425-444.

Abstract

This study addresses the question to which extent phonetic contrasts of a foreign language are perceived more easily by speakers of a native language that shares similar phonetic categories. The focus lies on two postalveolar and two alveolo-palatal affricates of Serbian: [tʃ] (postalveolar, voiceless), [ʨ] (alveolo-palatal, voiceless), [ʤ] (postalveolar, voiced) and [ʥ] (alveolo-palatal, voiced). Swiss-German dialects have the postalveolar voiceless affricate [tʃ] only, while the Rhaeto-Romance variety of Sursilvan has three different affricates, i.e. [tʃ], [ʨ], and [ʥ]. In a EEG experiment using a Multi-Deviant Mismatch Negativity (MMN) paradigm, 15 Swiss-German speaking adults and 15 Rhaeto-Romance speaking adults between the ages of 20 to 30 years were instructed to focus on a random reading while not paying attention to the auditory stimuli. The hypothesis is a significant difference in processing between the two groups: Swiss-German speakers will not be able to reliably distinguish the four Serbian affricates. Rhaeto-Romance speakers on the other hand are expected to be able to distinguish all four affricates as they share three of the four phonetic categories. A significant group-effect was found to corroborate that Rhaeto-Romance speakers process the Serbian affricates differently from the Swiss-German speakers.

This study addresses the question to which extent phonetic contrasts of a foreign language are perceived more easily by speakers of a native language that shares similar phonetic categories. The focus lies on two postalveolar and two alveolo-palatal affricates of Serbian: [tʃ] (postalveolar, voiceless), [ʨ] (alveolo-palatal, voiceless), [ʤ] (postalveolar, voiced) and [ʥ] (alveolo-palatal, voiced). Swiss-German dialects have the postalveolar voiceless affricate [tʃ] only, while the Rhaeto-Romance variety of Sursilvan has three different affricates, i.e. [tʃ], [ʨ], and [ʥ]. In a EEG experiment using a Multi-Deviant Mismatch Negativity (MMN) paradigm, 15 Swiss-German speaking adults and 15 Rhaeto-Romance speaking adults between the ages of 20 to 30 years were instructed to focus on a random reading while not paying attention to the auditory stimuli. The hypothesis is a significant difference in processing between the two groups: Swiss-German speakers will not be able to reliably distinguish the four Serbian affricates. Rhaeto-Romance speakers on the other hand are expected to be able to distinguish all four affricates as they share three of the four phonetic categories. A significant group-effect was found to corroborate that Rhaeto-Romance speakers process the Serbian affricates differently from the Swiss-German speakers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
150 Psychology
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:07 Apr 2010 13:00
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 13:42
Publisher:EDK
ISBN:978-88-6368-087-4
Additional Information:Atti del 5° Convegno Nazionale dell'Associazione Italiana di Scienze della Voce (AISV), Zurigo, 4-6 febbraio 2009
Related URLs:http://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&mode=Advanced&vid=ZAD&vl%28186672378UI0%29=isbn&vl%281UI0%29=contains&vl%28freeText0%29=978-88-6368-087-4
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/33282/
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-33273

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