Listening to semantically anomalous sentences masked by noise and competing speech in a second language: a cross-language study on Korean-English bilinguals

  • Meital Avivi-Reich
  • M.H. Bae
  • Y. Kang
  • B.A. Schneider


Wu et al. (2011) examined masking of speech by speech in Mandarin Chinese listeners. The results of their study showed that Chinese listeners benefitted less from spatial separation than did English listeners when a same-language masker was used; implying that the effectiveness of the spatial separation cue with respect to stream segregation is language dependent. In this study we have asked 24 native Korean speakers to perform a similar task and repeat nonsense sentences in Korean played with one of three types of background noises: 1) steady speech- spectrum noise; 2) same-language speech (Korean); and 3) morphologically similar cross- language speech (Chinese). These conditions were played in 4 different SNRs. The 50% correct corresponding SNR thresholds and the slopes of the psychometric functions were calculated and analyzed. The current results show that when listening to Korean the release from masking seems to be also smaller than when listening in English.

Full Articles