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Phonological memory, attention control, and musical ability: effects of individual differences on rater judgments of second language speech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages113-140
Number of pages28
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Journal publication dateJan 2011
Volume32
Journal issue1
DOIs
StatePublished

Abstract

This study examines how listener judgments of second language speech relate to individual differences in listeners’ phonological memory, attention control, and musical ability. Sixty native English listeners (30 music majors, 30 nonmusic majors) rated 40 nonnative speech samples for accentedness, comprehensibility, and fluency. The listeners were also assessed for phonological memory (serial recognition), attention control (trail making), and musical aptitude. Results showed that music majors assigned significantly lower scores than nonmusic majors solely for accentedness, particularly for low ability second language speakers. However, the ratings were not significantly affected by individual differences in listeners’ phonological memory and attention control, which implies that these factors do not bias listeners’ subjective judgments of speech. Implications for psycholinguistic research and for high-stakes speaking assessments are discussed.

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