Professor van Hell's talk: "Neural and cognitive mechanisms of accented speech processing: the roles of speaker identity and listener experience" will be at 10:30am in Annenberg 111 and will be followed by a department lunch from 12-1pm in the Linguistics Department Library.
If you would like to meet with Professor van Hell between 1:30 and 3:30 or attend the student dinner, please sign up at this link (https://forms.gle/XmokkfncDtXheZP48).
Below you can find the title and abstract for the talk.
Neural and cognitive mechanisms of accented speech processing: the roles of speaker identity and listener experience
Current everyday communication is a linguistic melting pot. Many learners of English as a second language have a nonnative accent when speaking English. We are also likely to interact with people from different language backgrounds, whose accent may be similar or different from one’s own accent. Although behavioral measures indicate that listeners adapt quickly to nonnative-accented speech, neurocognitive studies have shown distinct neural mechanisms in processing nonnative-accented sentences relative to native-accented sentences. I will present a series of recent experiments that studied how speaker identity and listener experience affect the comprehension of nonnative- and native-accented sentences, integrating behavioral and brain activity (EEG/ERP) measures. Specifically, we studied how listeners’ experience with nonnative- accented speech modulates accented speech comprehension by testing different listeners (young and older adults with little experience with nonnative-accented speech, listeners
immersed in nonnative-accented speech, and bilingual (nonnative-accented) listeners). We also examined how faces cuing the speaker’s ethnicity create language expectations, and how these biases impact the neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with the comprehension of nonnative- and native-accented sentences. Implications of the findings will be discussed by integrating neurocognitive theories of language processing with linguistic theories on the role of socio-indexical cues in speech comprehension.