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Poster C156

The neural development of Mandarin lexical tone processing in bilingual English-Mandarin children

Poster Session C - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Andres F. Diaz1 (, Sharry Guo2, Autumn Hill1, Valerie L. Shafer2, Gavin M. Bidelman3, Yan Yu1; 1St. John’s University, New York, USA, 2The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 3Indiana University

Both language experience and stimulus properties (i.e., acoustical salience) influence the development of lexical tone processing. Event-related potentials (e.g., mismatch responses, MMRs) and behavioral measures show that Mandarin lexical tone processing is immature in monolingual toddlers and preschool children. However, the developmental trajectory and how childhood bilingualism affect the MMR with respect to lexical tone processing remain largely undefined. Here, we used EEG and an oddball paradigm in which Mandarin tone 3 (low rising) served as the standard stimulus, and tone 2 (rising) and tone 1 (high level) as deviant stimuli. We measured MMRs in bilingual English-Mandarin children between 5 and 10 years of age and between 13-18 years of age. We found that the youngest children (5- to 7-year-olds) showed more positive MMR to Tone 3 -Tone 2 contrasts compared to older children (8- to 10-year-olds), while these two age groups showed similar MMR to the Tone 3 – Tone 1 contrasts. Bilingual teenagers showed similar Mismatch Negativity (MMN) and late negativity responses to native Mandarin speaking adults [Yu et al. (2018)]. These results suggest that automaticity in lexical tone processing occurs over a more protracted timeframe in bilingual Mandarin-English learning children compared to their monolingual Mandarin-learning counterparts.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition


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