The Language and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab hosted Professor Melissa Baese-Berk from the University of Oregon Linguistics Department for a talk on Monday, September 11, 2017. Dr. Baese-Berk’s research focuses on speech perception and production, with special attention to non-native speakers and listeners.
Title: “Factors Influencing Non-Native Perception and Learning”
Abstract: Learning a second language is a complex task, requiring acquisition of syntactic structure, lexical items, and phonological structure, among other things. Speech perception and learning phonological categories are notoriously difficult for non-native speakers because sensitivity to non-native contrasts by adult listeners is typically quite poor. Previous research has hypothesized that a relationship between the structure of the first and second languages predicts perception and acquisition of contrasts in the second language (e.g., Flege, 1988, Iverson, et al. 2003, Best et al. 2009). My research examines a number of other factors that may influence perception and learning of non-native contrasts. The work I will present addresses the relationship between perception and production during learning, the role of variability during training, and the role of active vs. passive exposures during training. I will discuss the implications of the results of these studies for our understanding of speech perception and production more broadly.