6,603 research outputs found

    Pitch ability as an aptitude for tone learning

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    Tone languages such as Mandarin use voice pitch to signal lexical contrasts, presenting a challenge for second/foreign language (L2) learners whose native languages do not use pitch in this manner. The present study examined components of an aptitude for mastering L2 lexical tone. Native English speakers with no previous tone language experience completed a Mandarin word learning task, as well as tests of pitch ability, musicality, L2 aptitude, and general cognitive ability. Pitch ability measures improved predictions of learning performance beyond musicality, L2 aptitude, and general cognitive ability and also predicted transfer of learning to new talkers. In sum, although certain nontonal measures help predict successful tone learning, the central components of tonal aptitude are pitch-specific perceptual measures

    From phonetics to phonology : The emergence of first words in Italian

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    This study assesses the extent of phonetic continuity between babble and words in four Italian children followed longitudinally from 0; 9 or 0; 10 to 2;0-two with relatively rapid and two with slower lexical growth. Prelinguistic phonetic characteristics, including both (a) consistent use of specific consonants and (b) age of onset and extent of consonant variegation in babble, are found to predict rate of lexical advance and to relate to the form of the early words. In addition, each child's lexical profile is analyzed to test the hypothesis of non-linearity in phonological development. All of the children show the expected pattern of phonological advance: 'Relatively accurate first word production is followed by lexical expansion, characterized by a decrease in accuracy and an increase of similarity between word forms. We interpret such a profile as reflecting the emergence of word templates, a first step in phonological organization

    Time and information in perceptual adaptation to speech

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    Presubmission manuscript and supplementary files (stimuli, stimulus presentation code, data, data analysis code).Perceptual adaptation to a talker enables listeners to efficiently resolve the many-to-many mapping between variable speech acoustics and abstract linguistic representations. However, models of speech perception have not delved into the variety or the quantity of information necessary for successful adaptation, nor how adaptation unfolds over time. In three experiments using speeded classification of spoken words, we explored how the quantity (duration), quality (phonetic detail), and temporal continuity of talker-specific context contribute to facilitating perceptual adaptation to speech. In single- and mixed-talker conditions, listeners identified phonetically-confusable target words in isolation or preceded by carrier phrases of varying lengths and phonetic content, spoken by the same talker as the target word. Word identification was always slower in mixed-talker conditions than single-talker ones. However, interference from talker variability decreased as the duration of preceding speech increased but was not affected by the amount of preceding talker-specific phonetic information. Furthermore, efficiency gains from adaptation depended on temporal continuity between preceding speech and the target word. These results suggest that perceptual adaptation to speech may be understood via models of auditory streaming, where perceptual continuity of an auditory object (e.g., a talker) facilitates allocation of attentional resources, resulting in more efficient perceptual processing.NIH NIDCD (R03DC014045

    Context effects on second-language learning of tonal contrasts.

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    Studies of lexical tone‚ÄČ learning generally focus on monosyllabic contexts, while reports of phonetic learning benefits associated with input variability are based largely on experienced learners. This study trained inexperienced learners on Mandarin tonal contrasts to test two hypotheses regarding the influence of context and variability on tone‚ÄČ learning. The first hypothesis was that increased phonetic variability of tones in disyllabic contexts makes initial tone‚ÄČ learning more challenging in disyllabic than monosyllabic words. The second hypothesis was that the learnability of a given tone varies across contexts due to differences in tonal variability. Results of a word learning experiment supported both hypotheses: tones were acquired less successfully in disyllables than in monosyllables, and the relative difficulty of disyllables was closely related to contextual tonal variability. These results indicate limited relevance of monosyllable-based data on Mandarin learning for the disyllabic majority of the Mandarin lexicon. Furthermore, in the short term, variability can diminish learning; its effects are not necessarily beneficial but dependent on acquisition stage and other learner characteristics. These findings thus highlight the importance of considering contextual variability and the interaction between variability and type of learner in the design, interpretation, and application of research on phonetic learning

    Real-time interactive speech technology at Threshold Technology, Incorporated

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    Basic real-time isolated-word recognition techniques are reviewed. Industrial applications of voice technology are described in chronological order of their development. Future research efforts are also discussed

    Sperry Univac speech communications technology

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    Technology and systems for effective verbal communication with computers were developed. A continuous speech recognition system for verbal input, a word spotting system to locate key words in conversational speech, prosodic tools to aid speech analysis, and a prerecorded voice response system for speech output are described
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