• Cross-language neighborhood density effects in early and late bilingual word recognition

      Lane, Amanda B. (2015)
      A central debate in research involving bilinguals is related to how the languages possessed by bilinguals interact while orthographic processing of one language occurs. Past research suggests that there is influence from a bilingual’s non-relevant language when she or he is processing words in the other language. One way of measuring such influence is achieved by varying the number of orthographic neighbors between languages and measuring the difference in reaction times to words with many and fewer cross-language neighbors. In this study, early and late English-Spanish bilinguals, who differed in experiences with their languages, responded to English and Spanish words in a progressive demasking task that differed by the number of orthographic neighbors (many or none) present in the other language. As expected, English words with many cross-language Spanish neighbors were responded to more slowly than English words with no cross-language Spanish neighbors. However, there was no significant difference in reaction times to Spanish words with many or no cross-language neighbors in English, which was unexpected. This pattern was similar in the two groups of bilinguals. Similar results were obtained in a control experiment with monolingual, English-speaking individuals, which suggests that the results obtained from the bilingual study might be due to some uncontrolled lexical variable (e.g., low imageability of specific English words with many Spanish neighbors).
    • Exploring The Relationship Between Oral and Orthographic Skills in Deaf Individuals

      Huie, Molly K. (2010-03-18)
      This study examines the relationship between speech production skills and orthographic skills in deaf readers using behavioral indices of word form processing. The Reicher- Wheeler forced-choiced paradigm was used to measure the word and pseudoword superiority effects, which are considered to be measures of familiarity with specific words in a language and familiarity with the orthographic rules of a language, respectively. Eleven deaf individuals took part in this study. Participants completed a background questionnaire, the Reicher-Wheeler task, a pronunciation task and several other measures of phonological and orthographic awareness. The scores from these tasks were correlated in order to determine the degree of relationship that exists between oral and orthographic systems. Results indicate that a well developed speech production system is not necessary for the development of a sophisticated orthographic system. Implications for reading education of deaf individuals are discussed.
    • The influence of phonetic features on the perception of accented speech

      Cali, Richard (2015-07)
      When learning a second language, speakers often produce certain phonetic features of that language differently than native speakers, which results in accented speech. Between Spanish and English, there are a number of phonetic differences which may be produced differently by Spanish speaking learners of English. I focus on two specific features of Spanish-English accented speech. The first is the lack of aspiration in pre-vocalic voiceless consonants, which results in English listeners perceiving the voiced counterparts. The second is the devoicing of the post-vocalic voiced consonants, which results in English listeners perceiving the voiceless counterparts. To test whether these two features have a strong effect on the intelligibility of accented speech, participants were asked to perform a forced-choice word recognition task in which they were presented with an auditory token, spoken by a Spanish-English bilingual, and asked to identify which of two visually presented words the spoken word was. The auditory token differed on pre- and post-vocalic voicing. I predicted that English listeners’ accuracy would be worse when they listened to the pre-vocalic, voiceless tokens compared to the pre-vocalic, voiced tokens and that the opposite would occur in the post-vocalic position. As predicted, results indicated that the subjects’ accuracy was better in the pre-vocalic voiced condition and the post-vocalic voicing condition. This implies that these two dimensions might have a direct effect on English listeners’ perception of an accent, which suggests that at some level, individual segmental qualities can result in accent perception, independent of the presence of suprasegmental features, or even other phonetic differences.
    • No Influence of Articulatory Suppression on the Word and Pseudoword Superiority Effects

      Stillwell, Monica (2010-03-18)
      In this study, we explored the role of phonological recoding in word and pseudoword superiority effects, previously characterized as pure orthographic effects. Participants were asked to identify letters embedded in briefly presented words, pseudowords, and nonwords, with and without concurrent articulatory suppression. This manipulation had the purpose of occupying the participants’ phonological loop and interfering with the phonological recoding of stimuli in working memory. We predicted that the presence of articulatory suppression would lower accuracy across stimuli, and that this decrease would be more dramatic for pseudowords if participants relied on phonological recoding to perform the task. Word and pseudoword effects were present in both conditions; furthermore, articulatory suppression caused a similar decrease in accuracy for the three types of stimuli. Therefore, word and pseudoword superiority effects were not affected by the lack of phonological recoding. These results suggest that these effects mainly reflect orthographic processing.