The Effect of Linguistic Experience and Musical Training on Tone Perception
Kadyamusuma, McLoddy, Dr.
MetadataShow full item record
This study examines the effect of how experience with perceiving pitch variations at the sentential level (English), or at the syllabic level as in tone languages (Shona), and also musical experience influences the speech perception system. Tone perception in adults is influenced by experience with the phonological inventory of one's native language. In this study, the focus is on investigating if there are differences in perceiving tonal distinctions in speakers who have the same phonological inventories but may differ in terms of their musical experience. To this effect native English speakers were recruited to participate in the study. Each participant was given two sets of 120 paired stimuli to discriminate. The stimuli in the first set consisted of bisyllabic Shona words. These pairs had the same segments but had the same or different suprasegmentals (tones). Participants also had to determine if the pitch patterns in filtered homologues of the bisyllabic stimuli were the same or different. The hypothesis was that the participants who had musical training would have a greater accuracy rate than those who did not. The results revealed that the native speakers who have musical experience of discriminating pitch variations performed significantly better than their peers who did not have musical experience.