Listening with an accent: Speech perception in a second language by late bilinguals

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The goal of the present study was to examine functioning of late bilinguals in their second language. Specifically, we asked how native and non-native Hebrew speaking listeners perceive accented and native-accented Hebrew speech. To achieve this goal we used the gating paradigm to explore the ability of healthy late fluent bilinguals (Russian and Arabic native speakers) to recognize words in L2 (Hebrew) when they were spoken in an accent like their own, a native accent (Hebrew speakers), or another foreign accent (American accent). The data revealed that for Hebrew speakers, there was no effect of accent, whereas for the two bilingual groups (Russian and Arabic native speakers), stimuli with an accent like their own and the native Hebrew accent, required significantly less phonological information than the other foreign accents. The results support the hypothesis that phonological assimilation works in a similar manner in these two different groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-457
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Accent
  • Arabic
  • Bilingualism
  • Hebrew
  • Russian
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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