Lexical Stress Identification in Cochlear Implant-Simulated Speech by Non-Native Listeners

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Abstract

This study investigates whether a presumed difference in the perceptibility of cues to lexical stress in spectro-temporally degraded simulated cochlear implant (CI) speech affects how listeners weight these cues during a lexical stress identification task, specifically in their non-native language. Previous research suggests that in English, listeners predominantly rely on a reduction in vowel quality as a cue to lexical stress. In Dutch, changes in the fundamental frequency (F0) contour seem to have a greater functional weight than the vowel quality contrast. Generally, non-native listeners use the cue-weighting strategies from their native language in the non-native language. Moreover, few studies have suggested that these cues to lexical stress are differently perceptible in spectro-temporally degraded electric hearing, as CI users appear to make more effective use of changes in vowel quality than of changes in the F0 contour as cues to linguistic phenomena. In this study, native Dutch learners of English identified stressed syllables in CI-simulated and non-CI-simulated Dutch and English words that contained changes in the F0 contour and vowel quality as cues to lexical stress. The results indicate that neither the cue-weighting strategies in the native language nor in the non-native language are influenced by the perceptibility of cues in the spectro-temporally degraded speech signal. These results are in contrast to our expectations based on previous research and support the idea that cue weighting is a flexible and transferable process.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage and speech
Early online date29-Jan-2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29-Jan-2024

Keywords

  • Cochlear implant simulations
  • cue weighting
  • lexical stress
  • non-native
  • prosody

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