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Recent Conference Presentations

PIRE undergraduate fellow Abby Cosgrove presented at the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society

When Mar 25, 2018
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Boston, Massachusetts
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Title: Do faces affect foreign-accented speech comprehension in children: An ERP investigation.


Abstract: Spoken language provides listeners with information about the speaker’s identity, such as age, sex, or accentedness. In spoken communication, foreign-accented speech can challenge comprehension, especially for listeners with limited experience with foreign-accented speech. Using ERPs, we had adults and children (aged 10-11) with little exposure to foreign-accented speech listen to sentences containing a semantic anomaly or pronoun error (and correct counterparts), produced by Chinese-accented and non-accented speakers of English. Adults and children both showed an N400 response to semantic violations in both accent conditions, but pronoun violations elicited a neural response in non-accented speech, but not in foreign-accented speech (Grey & Van Hell, 2017; Grey et al., in prep). In the present study, we examined whether presenting faces as a cue to foreign speaker identity could aid foreign-accented speech comprehension, particularly neural responses to pronoun violations. Prior to listening to Chinese-accented or non-accented speakers (producing the same sentences as above), listeners saw faces congruent with each speaker’s accent. In adults, pronoun violations in foreign-accented speech (as well as non-accented speech) elicited a neural response, indicating face cues aided comprehension. Preliminary analyses of the child data, however, indicate that face presentation did not modulate pronoun processing in foreign-accented speech: children still did not show a neural response to pronoun violations in foreign accented speech (but showed sensitivity to pronoun violations in non-accented speech and semantic violations in both accent conditions). This suggests that adults but not children use faces as a cue to speaker identity to aid foreign-accented speech comprehension.

 

PIRE fellow Annie Beatty-Martinez presents at the California Meeting of Psycholinguistics (CAMP)

When Dec 04, 2017
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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Title: Codeswitching and variation in language processing (talk presentation)


Abstract: Experience-based models of language processing posit that sensitivity to distributional patterns in production can constrain the comprehension system (Dell & Chang, 2014; MacDonald, 2013). Codeswitching provides a unique circumstance to elucidate this relationship because codeswitching emerges in some bilingual communities but not in others. Beatty-Martínez & Dussias (2017) examined the extent to which individuals’ production choices predicted comprehension difficulty in codeswitching and non-codeswitching bilingual populations. We recruited 22 Spanish-English codeswitchers in the US and 22 non-codeswitchers in Spain who were highly proficient in both languages. We focused on the comprehension and production of mixed noun phrases (mixed NPs; e.g., elM forkM). Evidence from naturalistic corpora suggests that bilinguals exhibit an overall preference for the masculine determiner (el), regardless of the noun’s gender in Spanish. In contrast, switches involving the feminine determiner (la) occur less frequently and are restricted to English nouns that are feminine in Spanish (Valdés-Kroff, 2016). To illustrate, el-codeswitches such as (elM forkM) and (elM spoonF) are extremely common. To a lesser extent, la-codeswitches involving feminine nouns (laF spoonF) have also been attested in bilingual speech, while those involving masculine nouns (*laF forkM) have not. We predicted that electrophysiological responses would reflect this asymmetry in codeswitchers but not in non-codeswitchers. That is, while codeswitches in general should be unexpected for non-codeswitchers, only rarely-attested switches should induce processing difficulties in codeswitchers. Comprehension was examined in sentential contexts using event-related potentials where we compared different types of switches (switch vs. switch) and effects of switching (switch vs. no-switch); production was examined in a corpus of unscripted, task-oriented dialogues between two bilingual speakers. The same participants completed the comprehension and production experiments. In Experiment 1, the two groups of bilinguals differed in their processing of codeswitched sentences. While non-codeswitchers were insensitive to the congruency and gender of switched target nouns, codeswitchers demonstrated an asymmetry in how they process different types of switches. Specifically, codeswitchers exhibited an N400 effect to masculine targets in incongruent noun phrases, suggesting greater difficulty in lexical integration. Furthermore, we found that only non-codeswitchers displayed a switching effect in the form of an early frontal positivity for switch vs no-switch comparisons. Importantly, codeswitchers did not exhibit switch costs in conditions of the sort found in naturalistic codeswitching. This is evidenced in the lack of a switching effect in masculine congruent and feminine congruent and incongruent switching conditions. To safeguard against potential language effects in the switch vs no-switch comparisons, we conducted a control experiment (Experiment 2) in which we compared electrophysiological responses to unilingual translation-equivalent sentences in English and Spanish using the same participants. Because no differences were found due to lexical characteristics of the target words in Experiment 2, we suggest that the switching effect in non-codeswitchers reflects detection of a language change during early monitoring stages of language processing (Kuipers & Thierry, 2010). In Experiment 3, participants completed a task that elicited naturally-produced codeswitched speech. Results show that proportions of noun phrase types (i.e., Spanish, English, or mixed) differed across groups: Codeswitchers produced more mixed NPs than non-codeswitchers and these switches robustly reflected the aforementioned gender asymmetry found in naturalistic codeswitching. Overall, the current study further provides evidence that individuals are highly sensitive to the constraints of their language experience, and sheds light on how production and comprehension processes are tightly linked. Our findings demonstrate how switching costs largely depend not only on the type of codeswitch but also the bilingual’s language experience.

PIRE undergraduate fellow Delaney Wilson presented at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society

When Nov 11, 2017
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Vancouver, Canada
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Title: Phonological convergence in Spanish-English bilinguals: VOT differences in habitual and non-habitual codeswitchers.


Abstract: Bilinguals have longer voice onset times (VOTs) when naming isolated pictures during switched trials than non-switched trials (Goldrick et al., 2014; Olson, 2013), indicating that switching impacts phonetic output. To understand how this manifests in naturalistic speech, we employed a sentence creation task focusing on word-initial /p/ and /t/ phonemes. Habitual and non-habitual code-switchers produced sentences that switched from Spanish to English, from English to Spanish, and unilingual Spanish and English sentences. Spanish VOTs were shorter than English VOTs in all contexts, for both habitual and non-habitual code-switchers. In habitual code-switchers, English VOTs were shorter in code-switched than in unilingual sentences, suggesting phonological convergence in code-switched sentences. No such difference was found in non-habitual switchers, indicating they maintain phonetic distinctions between both languages in code-switched sentences. The difference between habitual and non-habitual code-switchers suggests that phonological convergence manifests differently with language use.

PIRE undergraduate fellow Erika Exton presented at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society

When Nov 11, 2017
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Vancouver, Canada
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Title: Bilingual semantic memory: concreteness effects in second language lexical decision and semantic relationship judgment tasks.


Abstract: Numerous studies on semantic memory observed that monolinguals are faster and more accurate in processing concrete than abstract words. However, many aspects about bilingual semantic processing and lexical-semantic memory are not yet fully understood, including concreteness effects in second language (L2) processing. This study, as part of a larger project on the neurocognitive correlates of semantic processing in younger and older monolinguals, bilinguals, and individuals with aphasia, examined concreteness effects in lexical decision and semantic relationship judgment tasks in the second language in Dutch-English bilinguals. Concreteness effects in L2 lexical decision were small and depended on second language proficiency. Robust concreteness effects were found in the L2 semantic relationship judgment task; moreover, for abstract, but not for concrete words, performance was better for associative pairings than for similarity pairings. Implications for lexical-semantic activation during L2 concrete and abstract word processing and bilingual semantic memory will be discussed.

PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martinez presents at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society

When Nov 10, 2017
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Vancouver, Canada
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Title: Examining the effects of word frequency, language use, and immersion contexts on bilingual language production (Poster presentation)


Abstract: Although bilinguals are typically slower to speak the L2 relative to the L1, changes to the native language have been observed in response to active L2 use. These observations have been attributed to either reduced-lexical access (frequency-lag hypothesis) or to the presence of activation of the nontarget language (competition-based models). Here we characterize these differences as a function of immersion context and language use (e.g., codeswitching). We compared picture naming performance with high- and low-frequency items across three Spanish-English bilingual groups and in their two languages. Overall, bilinguals were slower than monolingual controls. Non-codeswitching bilinguals immersed in their L1 were faster in the L1 than in the L2 and this difference was greater for low-frequency items. Codeswitching bilinguals, regardless of immersion context, were faster in the L2 than in the L1, although this effect disappeared for low-frequency items. We discuss these results with respect to accounts of bilingual language production.

PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martinez presents at the 11th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB11)

When Jun 11, 2017 12:00 AM to
Jun 15, 2017 12:00 AM
Where University of Limerick, Ireland
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Title: It’s not about switching a palabra: Bilingual experience modulates electrophysiological correlates of codeswitching


Abstract: Exposure-based models of processing posit that sensitivity to production patterns can constrain the comprehension system. Codeswitching serves to elucidate this relationship because codeswitching emerges in some bilingual communities but not in others. We examine whether bilinguals’ production choices predict comprehension performance. We recruited 22 Spanish-English codeswitchers in the US and 22 non-codeswitchers in Spain highly proficient in both languages. We examined the production and comprehension of mixed noun phrases (mixed NPs; elM forkM). Naturalistic corpora illustrate a preference for masculine determiners, regardless of the noun’s gender in Spanish. Conversely, switches involving feminine determiners are restricted to English nouns that are feminine in Spanish. We predicted that non-codeswitchers should be insensitive to this asymmetry whereas codeswitchers should show differential electrophysiological responses to rare (*laF forkM) versus frequent (elF forkM) codeswitches. Production was examined using a map task; comprehension was investigated in sentential contexts using event-related potentials. The same participants completed production and comprehension experiments. Results for production show that codeswitchers produced more mixed NPs than non-codeswitchers (B=2.28, SE=.36, z=6.38, p=.001), and these switches robustly reflected the aforementioned distributional asymmetry. In comprehension, the two groups differed in their processing of mixed NPs. While non-codeswitchers were insensitive to the distributional patterns of different codeswitches, codeswitchers exhibited greater processing difficulty (N400) to rare vis-à-vis frequent codeswitches (F(1,21)=19.77, p=.000, η2p=.49). These findings support our prediction that bilinguals’ comprehension of codeswitches is influenced by the distributional regularities they experience. Furthermore, we found that only non-codeswitchers displayed an early positivity (P2; F(1,21)=10.12, p=.004, η2p=.36) for switch vs no-switch comparisons (elM forkM;elM tenedorM). Importantly, codeswitchers did not exhibit such effects. Overall, our findings shed light on the production-comprehension link, and demonstrate how the correlates of codeswitching largely depend on bilinguals’ experience with distributional codeswitching regularities.

PIRE fellow Manuel Pulido-Azpíroz presents at the 11th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB11)

When Jun 11, 2017 12:00 AM to
Jun 15, 2017 12:00 AM
Where University of Limerick, Ireland
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Title: Bilinguals show inhibition of implicit L1 interference during processing of L2 collocations: Evidence from Event Related Potentials


Abstract: Studies on the processing of second language (L2) collocations (e.g., “set the table”) have reported faster RTs in collocational over unrelated word pairs, but also more efficient processing of L1-L2 congruent collocations (word-by-word equivalents) relative to incongruent ones (e.g., Wolter & Gyllstad, 2011). While previous studies have assumed an advantage of congruent collocations in processing, we explore the alternative hypothesis that differences are due to the effect of L1 interference. Using ERPs, we investigated the effect of implicit L1 activation during a lexical decision task. Spanish-English bilinguals were presented with 656 Verb+Noun sequences in their L2 (80 congruent, 80 incongruent collocations, 80 unrelated, 88 fillers; 328 non-words). To investigate the effect of L1 interference, increased L1 activation was induced through the presence of a cognate noun in 50% of collocations. Results for the bilingual group (N=18) showed congruency-based differences. Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed an effect of congruency in the 340-450 (p<0.05) and 500-600 ms windows (p<0.01). Bonferroni post hoc tests revealed a significantly different negative-going modulation in incongruent collocations peaking at around 550 ms in averaged left frontal electrodes relative to the congruent (p=0.015) and the unrelated conditions (p=0.016). However, congruent collocations that contained cognates also presented a negative peak and were non-significantly different from cognates in incongruent collocations. These results support previous studies that found that when cognates are presented in a sentence facilitation decreases or disappears (e.g., Schwartz & Kroll, 2006). The data suggest that implicit L1 activation during processing of incongruent collocations results in recruitment of inhibition mechanisms within the 500-600ms window.

PIRE undergraduate fellow Delaney Wilson presented at the Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World Conference

When Jan 28, 2017
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
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Title: How Spanish-English bilinguals produce code-switched sentences: An acoustic analysis


Abstract: Code-switching, alternating between multiple languages in an utterance as in “the boy ate la pera en la cocina”.1, is a hallmark of bilingualism and shows that bilinguals keep both languages active. While there is a substantial body of research on the interaction between a bilingual's syntactic systems during code-switching, only a few studies have specifically examined the interaction between a bilingual's phonetic systems during the production of code-switched speech. Voice onset time (VOT) is the length of time between the release of a stop consonant and the onset of voicing. Recent studies have shown that Spanish-English bilinguals show significantly longer VOTs while naming unrelated pictures during switched trials2 than during non-switch trials and that their language-switched speech was “more accented”3, indicating that switching induces a difference in phonetic output. Since both of these studies focused on language switching during single picture naming, we employed a sentence creation task to see if VOT lengths are also present in more naturalistic code-switched sentences. Languages differ in the types of VOT they use to implement contrasts, i.e., English is a long-lag language, meaning that the VOTs of voiceless stops in English are longer than the shorter stops found in Spanish. The interaction of the two phonologies potentially leads to a transfer of VOT patterns in code-switched speech. The present study is an acoustic analysis of voiceless stop VOTs (focusing on word-initial /p/ and /t/) in switched and non-switched sentences. The outcomes provide insight into how a meaningful sentence context may affect the phonetic realization of code-switched words embedded within this sentence. A previously used experimental technique4 was adapted to elicit code-switched sentences. Pictures contained two images (the subject and object in the target sentence), each circled in a separate color for a code-switched sentence. The colors indicated in which language each should be referenced. There were four language conditions: a switched sentence from Spanish to English, a switched sentence from English to Spanish, a single-language English sentence, and a single-language Spanish sentence. Target words could appear before or after the language switch. Single-language sentences were presented in separate blocks and were not color-coded. Twenty-four Spanish-English bilinguals were tested at the University of Granada, Spain. The data of 11 participants were analyzed, based on their language proficiency scores for Spanish and English (DELE and MELICET). Forty-eight tokens were selected (2 languages*2 consonants*12 words). A total of 6,336 tokens (48 target words*2 conditions (unilingual, code-switch)*2 positions (before, after switch)*3 repetitions*11 participants) were collected and 5,696 were analyzed. Preliminary results show that English VOTs are longer than Spanish VOTs, which was expected. Pre-switch and initial target positions tend to be longer than their post-switch counterparts, but not significantly so. No significant difference manifested between code-switching and unilingual trials. While this suggests that there is no tangible anticipatory or carryover effect on VOT during code-switched sentences in naturalistic speech, it does show that bilinguals are capable of producing a distinction between the differences in VOT length within languages.

PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martinez presents at the Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone world conference (BHL)

When Jan 22, 2017
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
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Title: Bilingual experience modulates comprehension of codeswitched language: It’s not about switching a palabra (word)


Abstract: Exposure-based models of language processing posit that sensitivity to distributional patterns in production can constrain the comprehension system. Codeswitching provides a unique circumstance to elucidate this relationship because codeswitching emerges in some bilingual communities but not in others. This study examines the extent to which individuals’ production choices can predict comprehension difficulty in codeswitching and non-codeswitching bilingual populations. We recruited 22 Spanish-English codeswitchers in the US and 22 non-codeswitchers in Spain who were highly proficient in both languages. We focus on the production and comprehension of mixed noun phrases (mixed NPs; e.g., elM forkM). Evidence from naturalistic corpora suggests that bilinguals exhibit an overall preference for the masculine determiner (el), regardless of the noun’s gender in Spanish. In contrast, switches involving the feminine determiner (la) occur less frequently and are restricted to English nouns that are feminine in Spanish. To illustrate, el-codeswitches such as (elM forkM) and (elM spoonF) are extremely common. To a lesser extent, la-codeswitches involving feminine nouns (laF spoonF) have also been attested in bilingual speech, while those involving masculine nouns (*laF forkM) have not. We predicted that electrophysiological responses would reflect this asymmetry in codeswitchers but not in non-codeswitchers. That is, while codeswitches in general should be unexpected for non-codeswitchers, only rarely-attested switches should induce processing difficulties in codeswitchers. Production was examined in a corpus of unscripted, task-oriented dialogues between two bilingual speakers; comprehension was examined in sentential contexts using event-related potentials where we compared different types of switches (switch vs switch) and effects of switching (switch vs non-switch). The same participants completed the production and comprehension experiments. Results for production show that proportions of noun phrase types (i.e., Spanish, English, or mixed) differed across groups: Codeswitchers produced more mixed NPs than non-codeswitchers and these switches robustly reflected the aforementioned gender asymmetry. In the ERP study, the two groups of bilinguals differed in their processing of codeswitched sentences. While non-codeswitchers were insensitive to the congruency and gender of switched target nouns, codeswitchers demonstrated an asymmetry in how they process different types of switches. Specifically, codeswitchers exhibited an N400 effect to masculine targets in incongruent noun phrases, suggesting greater difficulty in lexical integration. Furthermore, we found that only non-codeswitchers displayed an early positivity (P2) for switch vs no-switch comparisons. Importantly, codeswitchers did not exhibit switch costs in conditions of the sort found in their own utterances during the production study. This is evidenced in the lack of the P2 component in masculine congruent and feminine congruent and incongruent switching conditions. To safeguard against potential language effects in the switch vs no-switch comparisons, we conducted a control experiment in which we compared electrophysiological responses to unilingual translation-equivalent sentences in English and Spanish using the same participants. Because no differences were found due to lexical characteristics of the target words in the control study, we suggest that the P2 switching effect in non-codeswitchers reflects detection of a language change during early monitoring stages of language processing. Overall, the current study further provides evidence that individuals are highly sensitive to the constraints of their language experience, and sheds light on how production and comprehension processes are tightly linked. Our findings demonstrate how switching costs largely depend not only on the type of codeswitch but also the bilingual’s language experience.

PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martinez presents at the 57th Meeting of the Psychonomics Society

When Nov 17, 2016 12:00 AM to
Nov 20, 2016 12:00 AM
Where Boston, Massachusetts
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Title: The effects of language experience on the modulation of cognitive control: Evidence from the AX-Continuous Performance


Abstract:  Bilinguals are capable of efficiently negotiating task demands, especially when the task requires engagement of cognitive control. For example, bilinguals have been shown to outperform monolinguals on the AX-Continuous Performance Task (Morales et al., 2015), which pits proactive monitoring against reactive/inhibitory control (Braver et al., 2001; Braver, 2012). While some have hypothesized that language switching experience can enhance proactive control in bilinguals (Zhang et al., 2015), others have proposed that switching will have an impact on reactive control processes (Green &amp; Abutalebi, 2013). We conducted an aggregate analysis of the AX-CPT in monolinguals, bilinguals, and L2 learners (N=818) to investigate how language experience may modulate cognitive control processes. While bilinguals overall exhibited slower RTs relative to L2 learners and monolinguals, only bilinguals immersed in the L2 performed as or more accurately across conditions. We discuss these results with respect to language immersion and dominance, as well as codeswitching experience.

PIRE fellow Manuel Pulido-Azpiroz presents at the 57th Meeting of the Psychonomics Society

When Nov 17, 2016 12:00 AM to
Nov 20, 2016 12:00 AM
Where Boston, Massachusetts
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Title: The role of the L1 during processing of collocational links in the L2 lexicon: Exploring facilitation and interference through ERPs


Abstract: Studies exploring the role of the first language (L1) during the processing of second language (L2) collocations (e.g., set the table), show faster RTs in collocational over unrelated word pairs, and more efficient processing of L1-L2 congruent collocations (word-by-word equivalents) relative to incongruent ones (Wolter & Gyllstad 2011). No studies to date have investigated L1 interference in the processing of collocations. Using ERPs, our goal is to explore this question by capitalizing on increased L1 activation induced by the presence of a cognate noun in 50% of collocations. Cognates are predicted to enhance the effects of L1 on L2, resulting in increased facilitation via congruency, and in increased interference due to conflict in incongruent collocations. Faciliation/Interference should elicit modulated N400s. We recorded ERPs while participants performed a lexical decision task containing 656 Verb+Noun sequences (82 congruent, 82 incongruent collocations). Preliminary results (N=11) reveal modulated N400s based on congruency.

PIRE fellow Jonathan Steuck presents at NWAV 45

When Nov 03, 2016 09:00 AM to
Nov 06, 2016 05:00 PM
Where Simon Fraser University
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Jonathan Steuck, a 2015 PIRE fellow, has recently presented a poster at NWAV 45.  The title and abstract can be found below: 

“¿Eres de aquí?” ‘Are you from here?’ Spanish dialects in contact and fundamental frequency (f0) accommodation in yes-no questions 

Prosody conveys not only linguistic meaning, but also extralinguistic information determined by the broader situational context (e.g. ‘speaker and addressee attributes’; Cole 2015; Henriksen 2013). By using intonation, speakers may encode sociolinguistic meaning via phonetic accommodation, “the process whereby speakers in an interaction modify their speech in response to their interlocutor” (MacLeod 2012:ii). While accommodation may be partly automatic and subconscious (Pickering & Garrod 2004; Trudgill 2008), sociophonetic research supports that speakers can exercise socially-motivated agency when accommodating (see e.g. Giles et al. 1991 for Communication Accommodation Theory; Babel 2010 for vowels; Babel & Bulatov 2011 for f0; Romera & Elordieta 2013 for group-level accommodation). Given these findings, to what extent do speakers of different dialects with contrasting intonation accommodate when they come into contact? To address this question, I quantify whether a speaker changes her fundamental frequency (f0) to converge with (accommodate to) or diverge from a Spanish speaker of another dialect when asking information- and confirmation-seeking yes-no questionsa crucial locus for analysis given the cross-dialectal variation in the nuclear accent and boundary tone configurations in Andalusian (rising: L*HH%; Henriksen & García-Amaya 2012), Porteño (falling: L+¡H*HL%; Gabriel et al., 2010, 2013) and Mexican (rising: L*LH%/H%; de-la-Mota et al. 2010) Spanish. 

Data come from a two-session (S) experiment involving native speakers of Andalusian Spanish (N=3) or a foreign dialect (Porteño/Mexican; N=3) living in Granada, Spain (total speakers=6). In S1, speakers of the same dialect individually completed a baseline intonation survey and an Implicit Association Task (IAT; Greenwald et al. 1998, 2003), which gauges a speaker’s implicit socio-cultural bias for her interlocutor’s dialect (cf. Babel 2010). Speakers then completed a map task and 20 questions game to elicit yes-no questions and a paired sociolinguistic interview to capture sentiments regarding life in Granada. In S2, the same speakers completed another map task and 20 questions game in dialect-mismatched pairs. Information- and confirmation-seeking questions from both sessions (excluding interview) were hand-segmented by syllable and annotated in Praat (Boersma & Weenink 2015) using Sp_ToBI (Aguilar et al. 2009; Vilaplana & Prieto 2008). In the baseline and when speaking with someone of the same dialect, speakers usually produce the canonical contour (i.e. rising/falling) for their dialect. To capture more finely-grained phonetic effects, I compare nuclear accents (N=651) and boundary tones (N=651) by speaker using time-normalized f0 measurements and Smoothing Spline ANOVAs. Compared to baseline, all speakers of a foreign dialect phonetically accommodate f0 to an Andalusian while 2/3 of the Andalusian speakers phonetically diverge from a non-Andalusian in nuclear accents. At the phrase-final syllable, speakers do not categorically change their boundary tone (e.g. from rising to falling) when speaking with someone from another dialect. However, speakers display sensitivity to an interlocutor in terms of the percent of rising vs. falling contours used. Finally, results from the IAT suggest that bias for a particular Spanish dialect does not consistently predict degree of accommodation, a finding counter to Babel (2010). Nevertheless, this study provides further support for group-level accommodation (cf. Babel 2010; Romeira & Elordieta 2013). 

PIRE fellow Grant Berry presents at NWAV 45

When Nov 03, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Where Simon Fraser University
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Grant Berry, a 2016 PIRE fellow, has recently presented at the 2016 LabPhon conference.  The title and abstract can be found below: 

Alignment-induced phonological variation in non-native dialogue

Individuals are attuned to process variation at all levels of linguistic production. Even at the level of phonetics, where phones vary due to coarticulation, physiology, and language experience (among other factors), speakers alter their production in response to the speech of their interlocutor (phonetic alignment; e.g., Pardo, 2006; Babel, 2012). Most research on phonetic alignment has investigated phonetic variation within a single phonological category, but individuals are also often exposed to systematic production variation across categories. Additionally, nearly all research on the topic has assessed phonetic alignment at only two time points (cf. Pardo, 2006; Delvaux and Soquet, 2007; Babel and Bulatov, 2011; Nielsen, 2011; Babel et al., 2013; Trofimovich and Kennedy, 2014; Hwang et al., 2015) rather than in real time, raising the question of whether alignment is an incremental process influenced by continued exposure or a rapid shift in production patterns due to discourse context. 

The current study investigates the plasticity of phonological boundaries in discourse using a corpus of 34 Spanish-English bilinguals who converse with two Dutch confederates in English as a lingua franca across two speech styles (the Nijmegen Corpus of Spanish English; Kouwenhowevn et al., Forthcoming). When Spaniards converse with Dutch interlocutors in English as a lingua franca (ELF), they encounter two variables not present in their L2 speech: an English-like vowel contrast they have difficulty producing (/i/-/ɪ/; cf. Flege, 1991; Booij, 1995:1; Casillas, 2015) and a merger of two English vowels that habitually distinguish (/ɛ/-/æ/; cf. Booij, 1995:4-5; Archila-Suerte et al., 2012; Giacomino, 2012). We track the production of these contrasts during formal and informal speech using the Pillai score1 (e.g., Nycz and Hall-Lew, 2013; Hay et al., 2006; Babel et al., 2013) as an analog of category separation and mixed effects models of the corpus data (cf. Baayen et al., 2008; Baayen et al., 2015; Barr et al., 2013; Bates et al., 2015a; Bates et al. 2015b). 

Results indicate that Spaniards aligned with Dutch confederates in their phonological category production, quickly merging their /ɛ/-/æ/ distinction and gradually separating their merged /i/-/ɪ/ category (see Figure 1), rather than adopting standard English production (a four-way contrast). We found greater merger in informal speech, but an interaction with time for the /i/-/ɪ/ contrast, which indicates that /i/ and /ɪ/ gradually separated in informal conversation. However, there was no effect of time for the /ɛ/-/æ/ contrast: Spaniards merged /ɛ/ and /æ/ more strongly in informal than in formal conversation, but the magnitude was stable throughout the conversation (see Figure 1). Finally, proficiency influenced alignment: the most proficient speakers separated /i/-/ɪ/ and merged /ɛ/-/æ/ more than less proficient speakers (see Figure 2). We situate these results alongside other research on phonetic alignment and speech production, stressing the importance of treating phonological categories as dynamic and interpreting phonetic alignment as a complex phenomenon that may be rapid or gradual, depending on the phonological categories under investigation. 



PIRE fellow Alex McAllister presents at LabPhon15

When Jul 13, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Where Cornell University
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Alex McAllister, a 2015 PIRE student, presented data with his PIRE advisor, Matthew T. Carlson, at the 2016 LabPhon conference. The abstract can be found below: 

Phonetic reduction, perceptual illusions, and phonotactic legality

This study probed the relationship between automatic phonotactic repair and speech production, by asking whether the repair structure (a prothetic vowel) may be susceptible to reduction in speech. Spanish productively repairs word-initial /s/-consonant clusters (henceforth #sC) with a prothetic /e/ in both production and perception. We asked whether the initial vowel in Spanish #esC words like espalda ‘back’, which matches the default repair vowel, is more prone to reduction than other initial vowels, such as in aspirina ‘aspirin’. We explore this question in the speech production of 15 speakers of Andalusian Spanish who produced half #esC and half #asC words in isolation (578 tokens). Outright vowel deletion was uncommon, but was more likely with initial /e/ (5%) than initial /a/ (0.3%, one token). Moreover, when the /s/ was realized with greater duration (cf. the common tendency to lenite syllable-final /s/ in Andalusian), shortening of /e/, but not /a/, was observed. These findings provide evidence that reduction may be enabled when the reduced material can be perceptually repaired, leading to the occurrence of apparently illicit sequences in actual speech, e.g. espalda produced as [spalda]. The influence of articulatory, frequency, and other factors on reduction is also evaluated.


PIRE fellow Grant Berry presents at LabPhon15

When Jul 13, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Where Cornell University
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Grant Berry, a 2016 PIRE fellow, has recently presented a poster at the 2016 LabPhon conference.  The title and abstract can be found below: 

Style-shifting and phonetic alignment in non-native discourse

We investigate the plasticity of phonological boundaries in discourse in a lingua franca by tracking the production of 34 Spaniards conversing with two Dutch confederates in English across two speech styles, and we focus on incremental changes in two key English vowel contrasts. The first, /i/-/ɪ/, is not made by Spanish speakers in aggregate but reliably produced by the Dutch confederates. The second, /ɛ/-/æ/, is produced by Spanairds, but not by Dutch confederates. We assessed degree of merger in each of ten normalized time bins with the Pillai score. Results indicate that Spaniards align with the Dutch confederates in their production of these contrasts, merging /ɛ/ and /æ/ and gradually separating /i/ and /ɪ/, rather than adopting standard English production. We found greater merger overall in informal speech, but an interaction with time for the /i/-/ɪ/ contrast indicates that /i/ and /ɪ/ gradually separate in informal speech. Conversely, there is no effect of time for the /ɛ/-/æ/ contrast: Spaniards merge /ɛ/ and /æ/ when conversing with the Dutch confederates significantly more in informal speech, but the magnitude is static throughout each interview. Finally, proficiency modulates alignment: the most proficient speakers separate /i/-/ɪ/ and merge /ɛ/-/æ/ more than less proficient speakers.


PIRE fellow Kinsey Bice presents at International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society

When May 05, 2016 09:00 AM to
May 08, 2016 05:00 PM
Where Granada, Spain
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Kinsey Bice, a 2016 PIRE fellows, has recently presented a poster at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society. The title and abstract can be found below: 

Language knowledge and context affect how comprehension spills over to production

Language contexts vary dramatically around the world, leading to diverse linguistic experiences for monolinguals, language learners, and proficient bilinguals. While only bilingual speakers experience the effects of switching between a second language (L2) and the native language (L1), all speakers, including monolinguals, encounter situations in which an L2 (known or unknown) is heard and semantically supported by context through gestures, the surrounding environment, or translation. The present study examined how comprehension in the L2 (in bilinguals) or the intention to comprehend the L2 (in monolinguals) affects the ability to subsequently speak in another language. Participants performed a picture-naming task while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. They named pictures from the first block in one language, viewed pictures while listening to the names in another language during the second block, and returned to the first language for naming the pictures in the third block. Participants varied in language knowledge as well as context: Mandarin-English bilinguals in the USA, monolingual English participants in the USA, Cantonese- English simultaneous bilinguals in Hong Kong, and monolingual English participants in Hong Kong. Initial ERP analyses reveal a modulating effect of language experience, such that bilinguals benefit from repetitions of both heard and spoken items, monolinguals in the USA who listened to pictures named in an unknown language are not facilitated in subsequent naming, and monolinguals living in Hong Kong experience interference for naming items that were previously heard in Cantonese. These results suggest that language experience and language context change how comprehension affects production.

PIRE undergraduate fellow Delaney Wilson presented at the Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology Meeting

When Apr 16, 2016
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Where Ohio State University
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Title: An acoustic analysis of VOT in Spanish-English code-switched sentences. (paper)


Abstract: Code-switching, alternating between multiple languages in an utterance, is a hallmark of bilingualism and shows that bilinguals keep both languages active. Code-switching is a popular topic, but most studies focus on switching between unrelated words/pictures rather than intrasentential switching, i.e. “the boy ate la pera en la cocina”1 Previous studies have shown that Spanish-English bilinguals have significantly longer voice onset times (VOTs) while naming unrelated pictures during switched trials2 and that their language-switched speech was “more accented”3 indicating that switching induces a difference in phonetic output. Since both of these studies focused on language switching during single picture naming, we studied whether the differences in VOT length are also present in more naturalistic code-switched sentences.VOT is the length of time between the release of a stop consonant and the beginning of the voicing of the following vowel. Languages differ in the types of VOT they use to implement contrasts, i.e. English is a long-lag language, meaning that the VOTs of voiceless stops are longer than the VOTs of Spanish. The interaction of the two phonologies potentially leads to a transfer of VOT patterns in code-switched speech. The present study is an acoustic analysis of voiceless stop VOTs (focusing on word-initial /p/ and /t/) in switched and non-switched sentences. The outcomes provide insight into how a meaningful sentence context may affect the phonetic realization of code-switched words. Kootstra et al. (2012)'s experimental technique4 was adapted to elicit code-switched sentences. Pictures contained two images (the subject and object in the target sentence), each circled in a separate color for a codeswitched sentence (see Figure 1). The colors indicated in which language each should be referenced. There were four language conditions: a complete English/Spanish sentence (unilingual conditions) or a switched sentence from English to Spanish or vice versa. Target words could appear before or after the language switch. Single-language sentences were presented in separate blocks and were not color-coded. Twenty-four Spanish-English bilinguals were tested at the University of Granada. 11 participants were analyzed based on achieved scores for the MELICET and DELE two tests that measure the level of proficiency in English and Spanish respectively. Forty-eight tokens were selected (2 languages*2 consonants*12 words). A total of 6,336 tokens (48 target words*2 conditions (unilingual, code-switch)*2 positions (before, after switch)*3 repetitions*11 participants) were collected. Currently, 3,168 tokens (all /t/ initial words) have been analyzed. Preliminary results for /t/ show there is a significant difference between English and Spanish VOTs in the unilingual conditions. As expected, English VOTs are longer than Spanish VOTs. Additionally, there is a significant difference in the VOT of switched versus non-switched sentences in Spanish (see Figure 2). While this suggests that there is no tangible anticipatory or carryover effect on VOT during code-switched sentences in naturalistic speech, it does show that bilinguals are capable of producing a distinction between the differences in VOT length within languages. Final analysis will also include /p/ initial words to ascertain if there is a similar effect for a different consonant.

PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martinez presents at the International Symposium on Bilingual Processing in Adults and Children (ISBPAC)

When Apr 10, 2016
from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
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Title: Bilinguals’ production choices predict neurophysiological performance: Evidence from codeswitching


Abstract: Linguistic prediction allows individuals to link what comprehenders expect to hear with what speakers actually say. The Production-Distribution-Comprehension model (PDC; Gennari & MacDonald, 2009) states that listeners’ and readers’ sensitivity to distributional patterns in production can constrain the comprehension system. The PDC model inherently predicts variability among speakers who codeswitch and speakers who don’t codeswitch. We test this hypothesis at the neural level by examining the relationship between codeswitching production patterns and comprehension difficulty. Because exposure to codeswitching is predicted to impact comprehension, we recruited Spanish-English codeswitchers in the US and non-codeswitchers in Spain. We focus on the production and comprehension of mixed noun phrases (mixed NPs; e.g., elM forkM). Evidence from naturalistic corpora suggests that bilinguals exhibit an overall preference for the masculine determiner (el), regardless of the noun’s gender in Spanish (Otheguy & Lapidus, 2003). In contrast, switches involving the feminine determiner (la) occur less frequently and are restricted to English nouns that are feminine in Spanish. To illustrate, el-codeswitches such as (elM forkM) and (elM spoonF) are extremely common. To a lesser extent, la-codeswitches involving feminine nouns (laF spoonF) have also been attested in bilingual speech, while those involving masculine nouns (*laF forkM) have not. We predicted that neurophysiological responses would reflect this asymmetry in codeswitchers but not in non-codeswitchers. Production was examined in a corpus of unscripted, task-oriented dialogues between two bilingual speakers (Anderson et al. 1991); comprehension was examined in sentential contexts using event-related potentials. As shown in Table 1, preliminary results for production show that codeswitchers (N=11) follow this pattern, while non-codeswitchers (N=11) do not. That is, a gender asymmetry in mixed NPs was found only in the bilingual speech of our participants tested in the US. For bilinguals who codeswitch, switches consistent with attested distributional patterns were easier to process. This is indicated by the N400 response for less frequent compared to more frequent switches. Crucially, no such effects were observed in non-codeswitchers. Our data suggest that individuals are highly sensitive to the constraints of their interactional context. Further research will look into how preferred and frequent switches compare to non-switched stimuli in these two groups of bilinguals. In this way, converging evidence from codeswitching sheds light on how production choices speakers make can predict comprehension performance.

 

 

PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martínez presents at 29th annual conference on human sentence processing

When Mar 03, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Where University of Florida
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Anne Beatty-Martínez, a 2015 PIRE fellow, has recently presented a poster at the 29th annual conference on human sentence processing.  The title and abstract can be found below:

Neurophysiological responses to mixed noun phrases in speakers who codeswitch and don’t codeswitch

Linguistic prediction allows individuals to link what comprehenders expect to hear with what speakers actually say. The Production-Distribution-Comprehension model (PDC; Gennari & MacDonald, 2009) states that listeners’ and readers’ sensitivity to distributional patterns in production can constrain the comprehension system. The PDC model inherently predicts variability among speakers who codeswitch and speakers who don’t codeswitch. We test this hypothesis at the neural level by examining the relationship between codeswitching production patterns and comprehension difficulty. Because exposure to codeswitching is predicted to impact comprehension, we recruited Spanish-English codeswitchers in the US and non-codeswitchers in Spain who were highly proficient in both languages. We focus on the production and comprehension of mixed noun phrases (mixed NPs; e.g., elM forkM). Evidence from naturalistic corpora suggests that bilinguals exhibit an overall preference for the masculine determiner (el), regardless of the noun’s gender in Spanish (Otheguy & Lapidus, 2003). In contrast, switches involving the feminine determiner (la) occur less frequently and are restricted to English nouns that are feminine in Spanish. To illustrate, el-codeswitches such as (elM forkM) and (elM spoonF) are extremely common. To a lesser extent, la-codeswitches involving feminine nouns (laF spoonF) have also been attested in bilingual speech, while those involving masculine nouns (*laF forkM) have not. We predicted that neurophysiological responses would reflect this asymmetry in codeswitchers but not in non-codeswitchers. Production was examined in a corpus of unscripted, taskoriented dialogues; comprehension was investigated in sentential contexts using event-related potentials. The same groups of bilinguals participated in the production and comprehension studies. As shown in Table 1, results for production show that proportions of noun phrase types (i.e., Spanish, English, or mixed NPs) differed across groups (X2 (2, N=6691) = 297.28, p<.000). Codeswitchers (N=14) produced more mixed NPs than non-codeswitchers (N=15) and these switches robustly reflected the aforementioned gender asymmetry. The ERP experiment showed that for bilinguals who codeswitch (N=15), switches consistent with attested distributional patterns were easier to process. This is reflected in the N400 response for less frequent compared to more frequent switches (see Figure 1). Crucially, no such effects were observed in non-codeswitchers (N=20). Our data suggest that individuals are highly sensitive to the constraints of their interactional context. In this way, converging evidence from codeswitching sheds light on how production choices speakers make can predict comprehension performance.

PIRE fellow Kinsey Bice presents at International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society

When Nov 19, 2015
from 09:00 AM to 07:05 PM
Where Chicago, Illinois
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Regulating the L1 Across Contexts to Investigate L2 Acquisition

Converging evidence across tasks and levels of language processing suggests that proficient bilinguals differ from monolinguals in the native language (L1). Language competition arising from parallel activation of the languages is resolved through inhibition of the L1 relative to L2 activation (Green, 1998). Therefore, L1 inhibition should be more difficult early in L2 learning, but necessary for successful acquisition. Here, we present data from two experiments testing the idea that changes in L1 processing early during L2 learning promote the development of L2 proficiency. The first experiment tests classroom learners in an L1 context, demonstrating that beginning and intermediate learners show neural sensitivity to L2 cognate words in the L1 earlier than previously reported. The second experiment reports preliminary data from English speakers living in Hong Kong who are exposed to Cantonese but not required to use it, to investigate how this immersion context affects Cantonese acquisition and L1 processing.