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Domain-General Auditory Processing as an Anchor of Post-Pubertal L2 Pronunciation Learning: Behavioural and Neurophysiological Investigations of Perceptual Acuity, Age, Experience, Development, and Attainment

Saito, K; Kachlicka, M; Sun, H; Tierney, A; (2020) Domain-General Auditory Processing as an Anchor of Post-Pubertal L2 Pronunciation Learning: Behavioural and Neurophysiological Investigations of Perceptual Acuity, Age, Experience, Development, and Attainment. Journal of Memory and Language , 115 , Article 104168. 10.1016/j.jml.2020.104168. Green open access

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Abstract

In the cognitive psychology literature, auditory processing has been extensively researched and suggested as a foundation of first language acquisition in childhood. This study tests an emerging theoretical view that the same faculty underpins post-pubertal second language (L2) pronunciation learning. A total of 100 late Polish-English bilinguals in the UK with diverse age and experience backgrounds were assessed for their ability to represent various characteristics of sounds via behavioural and neurophysiological measures. Subsequently, the participants’ biographical backgrounds and auditory processing profiles were compared to various dimensions of their L2 pronunciation proficiency. According to the results of mixed-effects modeling analyses, individual differences in participants’ L2 pronunciation proficiency were equally accounted for by age (age of arrival), experience (length of residence), and auditory processing (encoding, reproduction). Within the current dataset, the degree of auditory precision was negatively associated with participants’ chronological age (19–45 years). The findings suggest that earlier age of onset may allow them to take advantage of more precise auditory processing, which in turn helps them to make the most of every input opportunity throughout extensive immersion experience, leading to more advanced L2 phonological skills in the long run.

Type: Article
Title: Domain-General Auditory Processing as an Anchor of Post-Pubertal L2 Pronunciation Learning: Behavioural and Neurophysiological Investigations of Perceptual Acuity, Age, Experience, Development, and Attainment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2020.104168
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2020.104168
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Auditory processing, Second language, Speech production, Age, Experience
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106603
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