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Academic Paper


Title: Effect of voicing on perceptual auditory laterality in Estonian and Norwegian native speakers
Author: René Westerhausen
Author: Nele Põldver
Author: Richard Naar
Author: Dominika Radziun
Author: Maria Kaarep
Author: Kairi Kreegipuu
Author: Kenneth Hugdahl
Author: Pärtel Lippus
Author: Kristiina Kompus
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Estonian
Norwegian Nynorsk
Abstract: As a reliable and valid measures of perceptual auditory laterality, dichotic listening has been successfully applied in studies in many countries and languages. However, languages differ in the linguistic relevance of change in initial phoneme of words (e.g., for word identification). In the present cross-language study, we examine the effect of these differences on dichotic-listening task performance to establish how characteristics of one's native language affect the perception of nonnative phonological features. We compared 33 native speakers of Norwegian, a language characterized by a clear distinction between voiced and unvoiced initial plosive consonants, with 30 native speakers of Estonian, a language that has exclusively unvoiced initial phonemes. Using a free-report dichotic-listening paradigm utilizing pairs of voiced (/ba/, /da/, /ga/) and unvoiced (/pa/, /ta/, /ka/) stop-consonant vowels as stimulus material, the Norwegian native speakers were found to be more sensitive to the voicing of the initial plosive than the Estonian group. “Voicing” explained 69% and 18% of the variance in the perceptual auditory laterality in the Norwegian and the Estonian sample, respectively. This indicates that experiential differences, likely during acquisition of the mother tongue in early development, permanently shape the sensitivity to the voicing contrast.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 39, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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