The influence of musical abilities on the processing of L2 focus prosody: An eye-tracking study

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The perception of speech prosody in a second language (L2) remains challenging for proficient L2 users. Previous eye-tracking evidence indicates that Dutch listeners show difficulty in the processing of pitch accents signalling contrastive focus in English, whereas native English listeners use this cue in perception to anticipate upcoming information. We investigated whether musical abilities influenced the processing of contrastive focus accents by 40 Dutch adult L2 English users. In a visual-world eyetracking paradigm, participants listened to sentences with the focus particle only while viewing images of the objects and characters mentioned. We measured participants’ anticipatory fixations on the image showing the alternative of the contrast. Participants also completed a music perception test. Initial analyses indicate that individuals with higher music
perception scores show more anticipatory fixations in L2 listening. This suggests that having stronger perceptual resources underlying both music and speech perception may benefit the processing of L2 focus prosody.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
EditorsRadek Skarnitzl, Jan Volín
PublisherGuarant International
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9788090811423
Publication statusPublished - 10-Aug-2023
Event20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 7-Aug-202311-Aug-2023


Conference20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2023
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • L2
  • prosody
  • focus
  • musical abilities
  • visual world paradigm

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