Poster B62, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Language experience and phonological rule modulate pre-attentive lexical tone perception
Wen-Jui Kuo1, Claire H. C. Chang1, Tzu-Hui Lin1; 1Institute of Neuroscience, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
In this study, two experiments were set up to investigate how language experience modulates lexical tone perception. Specifically, we examined whether early tone perception is more left-lateralized with experience in tone language and tested the hypothesis that tones often exchanged by language-specific rule are perceptually more similar. In Experiment 1, we measured mismatch negativity (MMN) responses of native Mandarin speakers to tone pair often exchanged by phonological rule, i.e. sandhi, and tone pair that are not. In Experiment 2, MMN responses to sandhi and non-sandhi tone pairs from both skilled and unskilled speakers of Taiwanese were measured. Our results not only showed no left-lateralization of MMN to lexical tone, but that language experience resulted in greater right-lateralization, probably due to higher demand on tone discrimination. Another finding is that MMN to non-sandhi tone pair peaked earlier than sandhi pair. This effect was only observed in skilled speakers with syllable unambiguously belongs to the language in interest in Experiment 2, supporting that language-specific rule modulated pre-attentive tone perception. Current study manifested that human brain adapts to the demands of specific language extensively and demonstrated the flexibility of human language system.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other