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ERIC Number: EJ781852
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 25
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Persistent Stress "Deafness": The Case of French Learners of Spanish
Dupoux, Emmanuel; Sebastian-Galles, Nuria; Navarrete, Eduardo; Peperkamp, Sharon
Cognition, v106 n2 p682-706 Feb 2008
Previous research by Dupoux et al. [Dupoux, E., Pallier, C., Sebastian, N., & Mehler, J. (1997). A destressing "deafness" in French? "Journal of Memory Language" 36, 406-421; Dupoux, E., Peperkamp, S., & Sebastian-Galles (2001). A robust method to study stress' deafness. "Journal of the Acoustical Society of America" 110, 1608-1618.] found that French speakers, as opposed to Spanish ones, are impaired in discrimination tasks with stimuli that vary only in the position of stress. However, what was called stress "deafness" was only found in tasks that used high phonetic variability and memory load, not in cognitively less demanding tasks such as single token AX discrimination. This raised the possibility that instead of a perceptual problem, monolingual French speakers might simply lack a metalinguistic representation of contrastive stress, which would impair them in memory tasks. We examined a sample of 39 native speakers of French who underwent formal teaching of Spanish after age 10, and varied in degree of practice in this language. Using a sequence recall task, we observed in all our groups of late learners of Spanish the same impairment in short-term memory encoding of stress contrasts that was previously found in French monolinguals. Furthermore, using a speeded lexical decision task with word-nonword minimal pairs that differ only in the position of stress, we found that all late learners had much difficulty in the use of stress to access the lexicon. Our results show that stress "deafness" is better interpreted as a lasting processing problem resulting from the impossibility for French speakers to encode contrastive stress in their phonological representations. This affects their memory encoding as well as their lexical access in on-line tasks. The generality of such a persistent suprasegmental "deafness" is discussed in relation to current findings and models on the perception of non-native phonological contrasts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A