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Literacy’s influence on the production and perception of speech

Project description

Language and literacy in bilinguals

Bilingualism and reading may mutually influence each other, but they have been studied separately. The EU-funded LIPPS project will explore the two together, bearing in mind the intricate interactions between auditory and visual language perception and production in bilingual populations. Their aim is to demonstrate that the matching of a grapheme to a phoneme and vice versa reshapes bilinguals’ speech sound representations. This effect has direct consequences for speech production and perception. LIPPS will investigate how literacy adjusts representations of speech sounds in both languages of bilinguals. It will have major implications for models of bilinguals’ language production and perception, as well as for education and social policies.

Objective

The main objective of this project is to demonstrate that language-specific grapheme-phoneme correspondences reshape bilinguals’ phonemic space, which has direct consequences for speech production and perception. Moreover, this project will explore fine-grained properties of this recalibration in association with differing levels of bilingualism and language-specific reading proficiency. These goals will be reached by investigating how literacy (i.e. grapheme-phoneme conversion rules) recalibrates language-specific representations of speech sounds (phonemic representations; PRs). I aim to demonstrate that acoustic position and dispersion of PRs in bilingual readers vary depending on a) language-specific orthographic consistency and b) reading proficiency. Populations with differing degrees of bilingualism and reading proficiency will be tested in behavioural and neurophysiological paradigms: The initial stages of bilingualism will be captured by testing Spanish native speakers in a novel phoneme-and-grapheme learning experiment. The advanced stages of bilingualism will be captured by testing Basque-English sequential bilinguals who already built PRs in their second language. Until now, the fields of bilingualism and reading have been studied separately, although the two fields may mutually influence one another. The most innovative aspect of this project is its link between these two formerly unrelated research fields into a new research program, which takes into account the complex interactions between auditory and visual language perception and production in bilingual populations. This project has major implications for models of bilinguals’ language production and perception, which in turn have important implications for education and social policies. Moreover, the project has high relevance for basic research as it is the first to explore long-lasting literacy-induced phonemic recalibration.

Coordinator

BCBL BASQUE CENTER ON COGNITION BRAIN AND LANGUAGE
Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
Address
PASEO MIKELETEGI 69 2
20009 San Sebastian
Spain

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Region
Noreste País Vasco Gipuzkoa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 172 932,48