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Native and non-native speech sound processing and the neural mismatch responses: A longitudinal study on classroom-based foreign language learning


Jost, Lea B; Eberhard-Moscicka, Aleksandra K; Pleisch, Georgette; Heusser, Veronica; Brandeis, Daniel; Zevin, Jason D; Maurer, Urs (2015). Native and non-native speech sound processing and the neural mismatch responses: A longitudinal study on classroom-based foreign language learning. Neuropsychologia, 72:94-104.

Abstract

Learning a foreign language in a natural immersion context with high exposure to the new language has been shown to change the way speech sounds of that language are processed at the neural level. It remains unclear, however, to what extent this is also the case for classroom-based foreign language learning, particularly in children. To this end, we presented a mismatch negativity (MMN) experiment during EEG recordings as part of a longitudinal developmental study: 38 monolingual (Swiss-) German speaking children (7.5 years) were tested shortly before they started to learn English at school and followed up one year later. Moreover, 22 (Swiss-) German adults were recorded. Instead of the originally found positive mismatch response in children, an MMN emerged when applying a high-pass filter of 3 Hz. The overlap of a slow-wave positivity with the MMN indicates that two concurrent mismatch processes were elicited in children. The children's MMN in response to the non-native speech contrast was smaller compared to the native speech contrast irrespective of foreign language learning, suggesting that no additional neural resources were committed to processing the foreign language speech sound after one year of classroom-based learning.

Abstract

Learning a foreign language in a natural immersion context with high exposure to the new language has been shown to change the way speech sounds of that language are processed at the neural level. It remains unclear, however, to what extent this is also the case for classroom-based foreign language learning, particularly in children. To this end, we presented a mismatch negativity (MMN) experiment during EEG recordings as part of a longitudinal developmental study: 38 monolingual (Swiss-) German speaking children (7.5 years) were tested shortly before they started to learn English at school and followed up one year later. Moreover, 22 (Swiss-) German adults were recorded. Instead of the originally found positive mismatch response in children, an MMN emerged when applying a high-pass filter of 3 Hz. The overlap of a slow-wave positivity with the MMN indicates that two concurrent mismatch processes were elicited in children. The children's MMN in response to the non-native speech contrast was smaller compared to the native speech contrast irrespective of foreign language learning, suggesting that no additional neural resources were committed to processing the foreign language speech sound after one year of classroom-based learning.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:June 2015
Deposited On:05 Feb 2016 08:14
Last Modified:31 Jul 2016 07:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0028-3932
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.04.029
PubMed ID:25934634

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