Where do dialectal effects on speech processing come from? Evidence from a cross-dialect investigation
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Saioa Larraza, Arthur G. Samuel & Miren Lourdes Oñederra (2017) Where do dialectal effects on speech processing come from? Evidence from a crossdialect investigation, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70:1, 92-108, DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1124896
Accented speech has been seen as an additional impediment for speech processing; it usually adds linguistic and cognitive load to the listener's task. In the current study we analyse where the processing costs of regional dialects come from, a question that has not been answered yet. We quantify the proficiency of Basque–Spanish bilinguals who have different native dialects of Basque on many dimensions and test for costs at each of three levels of processing–phonemic discrimination, word recognition, and semantic processing. The ability to discriminate a dialect-specific contrast is affected by a bilingual's linguistic background less than lexical access is, and an individual's difficulty in lexical access is correlated with basic discrimination problems. Once lexical access is achieved, dialectal variation has little impact on semantic processing. The results are discussed in terms of the presence or absence of correlations between different processing levels. The implications of the results are considered for how models of spoken word recognition handle dialectal variation.