A Unified Model of Mono- and Bilingual Intelligibility

Psycholinguistics meets Pedagogy

  • John Archibald University of Victoria
Keywords: intelligibility, parsing, spoken word recognition, English as a Lingua Franca, psycholinguistics

Abstract

The construct of intelligibility in L2 speech has primarily been operationalized functionally in terms of speech being classified as intelligible if the listeners successfully recovered the intended message (Munro & Derwing, 1995). In this paper, I will operationalize intelligibility psycholinguistically in terms of spoken word recognition. We do not need to invoke any special machinery for intelligibility in bilinguals; monolinguals and bilinguals process speech in the same way (Libben, 2000; Libben & Goral, 2015). Listeners have to segment the speech stream and the parser maps the phonetic elements onto higher-level linguistic representations such as phonemes, syllable nodes and metrical feet. The role of experience in the listener is modelled analogously to high-variability phonetic training (HVPT) via broadening the prior likelihood (in a Bayesian sense) of the mapping of an L2 phone onto an extant phonological category. I conclude by discussing pedagogic implications, and suggesting that pedagogic models that advocate a single non-native variety of English, which will be intelligible to all ears (i.e. parsable by all grammars), are problematic psycholinguistically.

Author Biography

John Archibald, University of Victoria

Department of Linguistics, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

References

Abrahamsson, N. (2003). Development and recovery of L2 codas. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 25(3), 313–49.

Abrahamsson, N., & Hyltenstam, K. (2009). Age of onset and nativelikeness in a second language: Listener perception versus linguistic scrutiny. Language Learning, 59(2), 249–306.

Alhemaid, A. (2018). The perception and production of English initial sC(C) clusters by Saudi ESL learners. 10th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (PSLLT) Conference, Iowa State University.

Archibald, J. (1999). Second language phonology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Archibald, J. (2004). Interfaces in the prosodic hierarchy: New structures and the phonological parser. International Journal of Bilingualism, 8(1), 29–50.

Archibald, J. (2012). The acquisition of L2 laryngeal features: The processing of robust transitional cues. Poster at the University of York Workshop on Second Language Pho-nology. July.

Archibald, J. (2013). Reverse engineering the L1 filter: Bagging the elusive construct of intake frequency. Plenary talk at New Sounds Conference, Concordia, Montreal.

Archibald, J., & Libben, G. (2019). Morphological theory and second language acquisition. In F. Masini & J. Audring (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of morphological theory (pp. 522–40). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Archibald, J., & Yousefi, M. (2018). The redeployment of marked L1 Persian codas in the acquisition of marked L2 English onsets: Redeployment as a Transition Theory. Paper at ConCALL. University of Indiana.

Amaral, L., & Roeper, T. (2014). Multiple grammars and second language representation. Second Language Research, 30(1), 3–36.

Best, C. T., & Tyler, M. D. (2007). Nonnative and second-language speech perception: Commonalities and complementarities. In O. S. Bohn & M. J. Munro (Eds.), Second Language Speech Learning: The Role of Language Experience in Speech Perception and Production (pp. 13–34). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Birdsong, D. (1992). Ultimate attainment in second language acquisition. Language, 68, 706–55.

Broersma, M., & Cutler, A. (2007). Phantom word activation in L2. System, 36, 22–34.

Cardoso, W., John, P., & French, L. (2007).The variable perception of /s/+Coronal onset clusters in Brazilian Portuguese English. In Proceedings of New Sounds 2007 (pp. 86–106). Florianopolis, Brazil.

Carroll, S. (2001). Input and evidence: The raw material of second language acquisition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Caspers, J. (2010). The influence of erroneous stress position and segmental errors on intelligibility, comprehensibility and foreign accent in Dutch as a second language. Lin¬guistics in the Netherlands 2010, 17–29.

Chait, M., Greenberg, S., Arai, T., Simon, J., & Poeppel, D. (2015). Multi-time resolution analysis of speech: Evidence from psychophysics. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2015.00214

Clarke, C. M., & Garrett, M. F. (2004). Rapid adaptation to foreign-accented English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116, 3647–58.

Clopper, C., & Bradlow, A. (2008). Perception of dialectal variation in noise: Intelligibility and classification. Language and Speech, 51(3), 175–98.

Cutler, A. (2005). Lexical stress. In D. B. Pisoni & R. E. Remez (Eds.), The Handbook of Speech Perception (pp. 264–89). Makden, MA: Blackwell.

Dijkstra, T., Grainger, J., & van Heuven, W. J. B (1999). Recognition of cognates and inter-lingual homographs: The neglected role of phonology. Journal of Memory and Language, 41, 496–518.

Dupoux, E., Pallier, C., Sebastián, N., & Mehler, J. (1997). A distressing ‘deafness’ in French? Journal of Memory and Language, 36(3), 406–21

Frinsel, F., Kingma, A., Gooskens, C., & Swarte, F. (2015). Predicting the asymmetric intelligibility between spoken Danish and Swedish using conditional entropy. Tijdschrift voor Skandinavistiek, 34(2), 120–38.

Gass, S., & Varonis, E. (1984). The effect of familiarity on the comprehensibility of non-native speech. Language Learning, 34, 65–89.

Goad, H. (2016). Phonotactic evidence from typology and acquisition for a coda+onset analysis of initial sC clusters. In K. Kim, P. Umbal, T. Block, Q. Chan, T. Cheng, K. Finney, M. Katz, S. Nickel-Thompson & Lisa Shorten (Eds.), Proceedings of 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) (pp. 17–28). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Gonzalez, K., Byers-Heinlein, K., & Lotto, A. (2019). How bilinguals perceive speech depends on which language they think they’re hearing. Cognition, 182, 318–30.

Gooskens, C. (2006). Linguistic and extra-linguistic predictors of Inter-Scandinavian intelligibility. In J. van de Weiher & B. Los (Eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands, 23, 101–13. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Green, D., & Abutalebi, J. (2013). Language control in bilinguals: The adaptive control hypothesis. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25(5), 515–30.

Gwilliams, L., Poeppel, D., Marantz, A., & Linzen, T. (2018a). Phonological (un)certainty weights lexical activation. Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics (pp. 29–34). Salt Lake City, UT: Association for Computational Linguistics.

Gwilliams, L., Linzen, T., Poeppel, D., & Marantz, A. (2018b). In spoken word recognition, the future predicts the past. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(35), 7585–99.

Halle, M. (1995). Feature geometry and feature spreading. Linguistic Inquiry, 26(1), 1–46.

Heeringa, W., Golubovic, J., Gooskens, C., Schüppert, A., Swarte, F., & Voigt, S. (2013). Lexical and orthographic distances between Germanic, Romance and Slavic languages and their relationship to geographic distance. In C. Gooskens & R. van Bezooijen (Eds.), Phonetics in Europe: Perception and production (pp. 99–137). Bern: Peter Lang.

Hurford, J. (2014). The origins of language: A slim guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P. (2012). ‘Deconstructing’ comprehensibility: Identifying the linguistic influences on listeners’ L2 comprehensibility ratings. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34, 475–505.

Jenkins, J. (2007). English as a lingua franca: Attitude and identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, J. (2013). English as a lingua franca in the international university. London: Routledge.

Kaye, J. (1992). Do you believe in magic? The story of s+C sequences. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics and Phonetics (pp. 293–313). London: University of London School of Oriental and African Languages.

Kennedy, S., & Trofimovich, P. (2008). Intelligibility, comprehensibility, and accentedness of L2 speech: The role of listener experience and semantic context. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 64(3), 450–89.

Kupisch, T., & Rothman, J. (2016). Terminology matters: Why difference is not incompleteness and how early child bilinguals are heritage speakers. International Journal of Bilingualism, 22(5), 1–19.

Levis, J. (2005). Changing contexts and shifting paradigms in pronunciation teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 39(3), 369–77.

Libben, G. (2000). The homogeneity hypothesis. In J. Archibald (Ed.), Second language acquisition and linguistic theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Libben, G., & Goral, M. (2015). How bilingualism shapes the mental lexicon. In J. Schwieter (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of bilingual processing (pp. 631–44). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lively, S. E., Logan, J. S., & Pisoni, D. B. (1993). Training Japanese listeners to identify English /r/ and /l/: II. The role of phonetic environment and talker variability in learning new perceptual categories. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 94, 1242–55.

Long, M., Granena, G., & Montero, F. (2018). What does critical period research reveal about advanced proficiency? In P. Malovrh & A. Benati (Eds.), The Handbook of advanced proficiency in second language acquisition (pp. 51–71). Malden: MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Marslen-Wilson, W. (1987). Functional parallelism in spoken word recognition. Cognition, 25, 71–102.

Matthews, J. &, Brown, C. (2004). When language intake exceeds input: Language specific perceptual illusions induced by L1 prosodic constraints. International Journal of Bilingualism, 8(1), 5–27.

Moberg, J., Gooskens, C., Nerbonne, J., & Vailllette, N. (2007). Conditional entropy measures intelligibility among related languages. In P. Dirix, I. Schurmann, V. Vandeghinste & F. Van Eynde (Eds.), Computed Linguistics in the Netherlands 2006: Selected papers from the 17th CLIN Meeting (pp. 51–66). Utrecht: LOT.

Munro, M. (2008). Foreign accent and speech intelligibility. In J. Hansen Edwards & M. Zampini (Eds.), Phonology and second language acquisition (pp. 193–218). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Munro, M., & Derwing, T. (1995). Foreign accent, comprehensibility, and intelligibility in the speech of second language learners. Language Learning, 45, 73–97.

Norris, D., & McQueen, J. M. (2008). Shortlist B: A Bayesian model of continuous speech recognition. Psychological Review, 115(2), 357–95.

Poeppel, D. (2001). Pure word deafness and the bilateral processing of the speech code. Cognitive Science, 21, 679–93.

Poeppel, D. (2003). The analysis of speech in different temporal integration windows: Cerebral lateralization as ‘asymmetric sampling in time’. Speech Communication, 41, 245–55.

Poeppel, D., & Monahan, P. (2011). Feedforward and feedback in speech perception: Revisiting analyses by synthesis. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26, 935–51.

Poeppel, D., Idsardi, W. J., & van Wassenhove, V. (2008). Speech perception at the inter¬face of neurobiology and linguistics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 363, 1071–86.

Reinisch, E., & Weber, A. (2012). Adapting to suprasegmental lexical stress errors in foreign accented speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(2), 1165–76.

Riecke, L., Formisano, E., Sorger, B., Başkent, D., & Gaudrain, E. (2018). Neural entrainment to speech modulates speech intelligibility. Current Biology, 28, 161–9.

Romero-Rivas, C., Martin, C., & Costa, A. (2015). Processing changes when listening to foreign-accented speech. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 167.

Saito, K. (2018). Advanced second language segmental and suprasegmental acquisition. In P. Malovrh & A. Benati (Eds.), The Handbook of Advanced Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 282–303). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Scovel, T. (1988). A time to speak: A psycholinguistic inquiry into the critical period for human speech. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Slabakova, R. (2016). The scalpel model of third language acquisition. International Journal of Bilingualism, 21(6), 651–65.

Stefanich, S., Cabrelli Amaro, J., Hilderman, D., & Archibald, J. (in press). The Morphophonology of intraword codeswitching: Representation and processing. Frontiers in Communication.

Stevens, K. (2002). Toward a model for lexical access based on acoustic landmarks and distinctive features. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 111, 1872–91.

Strauss, A., Kotz, S., & Obleser, J. (2013). Narrowed expectancies under degraded speech: Revisiting the N400. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25, 1383–95.

Timmis, I. (2018). Pronunciation future in the 21st-century English-speaking world. In O. Kang, R. I. Thomson & J. M. Murphy (Eds.), Routledge handbook of contemporary English pronunciation (pp. 495–510). London: Routledge.

Van den Doel, R. (2006). How friendly are the natives? An evaluation of native-speaker judgements of foreign-accented British and American English. PhD dissertation, University of Utrecht.

Vaux, B., & Wolfe, A. (2009). The appendix. In E. Raimy & C. Cairns (Eds.), Contemporary views on architecture and representations in phonology (pp. 101–43). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Weber, S. (2013). Effects of lexical stress errors on the intelligibility of German and English. PhD dissertation, University of Calgary.

Wilson, C., & Davidson, L. (2009). Bayesian analysis of non-native cluster production. In S. Kan, C. Moore-Cantwell & R. Staubs (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 40), Vol. II (pp. 265–78). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Department of Linguistics.

Yang, C. (2017). Rage against the machine: Evaluation metrics in the 21st century. Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 24(2), 100–25.

Published
2019-06-24
How to Cite
Archibald, John. 2019. “A Unified Model of Mono- and Bilingual Intelligibility”. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 1 (1), 8-31. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmbs.11182.
Section
Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.