Home > Events > LSLT: Kathleen Oppenheimer (HESP) & Julien Millasseau (Macquarie U)
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LSLT: Kathleen Oppenheimer (HESP) & Julien Millasseau (Macquarie U)

Time: 
Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Location: 
Language Science Center (2130 H.J. Patterson)

Lunch available at 12:15, first talk begins promptly at 12:30. 

DOUBLE HEADER!

Kathleen Oppenheimer (HESP)

Effects of Verb Bias and Plausibility on Children's Processing of Ambiguous Sentences

Abstract: Children have many cues available to them to interpret globally ambiguous sentence such as "cut the cake with the candle." Previous research has suggested that unlike adults, children use verb bias as a stronger cue than plausibility when interpreting such sentences. In this talk, I will describe a research project further investigating the role of verb bias and plausibility in children's online processing.

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Julien Millasseau (Macquarie University, Sydney)

Durational cues to onset voicing contrasts in children with hearing loss

Abstract: In English, voicing differentiates voiced stops (/b, d, g/) from their voiceless counterparts (/p, t, k/). This is critical for effective speech planning to efficiently differentiate words like “pear” and “bear”. This contrast can be acoustically measured in terms of voice onset time (VOT) and closure duration (CD).

Australian English-speaking adults use both VOT and CD to distinguish voicing in word-initial position. Normal-hearing (NH) children start making a voicing distinction around 2 and by 4 years, their VOTs are still reported to be variable and nothing is known about the use of CD to contrast for voicing in preschoolers. In children with hearing loss (HL), most of our knowledge on the production of voicing contrasts comes from perceptual analyses where adult listeners label the productions of these children. Most of these studies reported that voicing is a challenging contrast to produce that often led to perceptual ambiguities. In addition, the few studies that have attempted to quantify the production of voicing have reported mixed results.

The present studies examined the production of acoustic cues to voicing contrasts in NH children and in children with HL. Two groups of NH participants (20 in each: 4-to-5-year-olds, and adults) and ten 4-to-5-year-olds with HL participated in the study. The VOT and CD of /b, d, g, p, t, k/ were measured in word-initial position of CVC words. The results showed an interaction between Group and Voicing for VOT and CD. Further analyses revealed that the VOT of children with and without HL were significantly different from that of adults. However, the CD of adults was different from that of children with and without HL. In addition, children with HL did not make a voicing distinction using CD, as opposed to their peers with NH.

Overall, children with HL have a voicing contrast, but they only use VOT to convey the distinction as opposed to their peers with NH and adults. This may drive the perceptual ambiguities faced by adults when listening to the speech of these children.