DO NONNATIVE LISTENERS BENEFIT AS MUCH AS NATIVE LISTENERS FROM SPATIAL CUES THAT RELEASE SPEECH FROM MASKING?
Nonnative listeners generally perform worse than native listeners on measures of speech perception, especially in acoustically complex environments. An important question that arises is whether nonnative listeners can benefit from acoustic cues that aid speech perception to the same extent as native listeners. In recent studies we have examined the ability of native and nonnative listeners to take advantage of one such acoustic cue, namely spatial separation, when listening to a talker in a noisy environment. In these studies participants were asked to repeat semantically anomalous English sentences masked by either two-talker speech or speech-spectrum noise. The results indicate that even though non- natives require higher signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) to recognize speech, they reap the same advantage from spatial separation as native speakers.