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The Language Hoax

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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: Implicit language learning: Adults' ability to segment words in Norwegian
Author: Megan M. Kittleson
Institution: University of Arizona
Author: Jessica M Aguilar
Institution: University of Arizona
Author: Gry Line Tokerud
Institution: University of Bergen
Author: Elena Plante
Institution: University of Arizona
Author: Arve E. Asbjørnsen
Institution: University of Bergen
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Norwegian Nynorsk
Abstract: Previous language learning research reveals that the statistical properties of the input offer sufficient information to allow listeners to segment words from fluent speech in an artificial language. The current pair of studies uses a natural language to test the ecological validity of these findings and to determine whether a listener's language background influences this process. In Study 1, the “guessibility” of potential test words from the Norwegian language was presented to 22 listeners who were asked to differentiate between true words and nonwords. In Study 2, 22 adults who spoke one of 12 different primary languages learned to segment words from continuous speech in an implicit language learning paradigm. The task consisted of two sessions, approximately three weeks apart, each requiring participants to listen to 7.2 minutes of Norwegian sentences followed by a series of bisyllabic test items presented in isolation. The participants differentially accepted the Norwegian words and Norwegian-like nonwords in both test sessions, demonstrating the capability to segment true words from running speech. The results were consistent across three broadly-defined language groups, despite differences in participants’ language background.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 13, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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