Learning to Anticipate Contrast with Prosody: A Visual World Study with L2 Learners

Chie Nakamura, Jesse Harris, Sun-Ah Jun


This study tested how L2 learners use contrastive accent to anticipate upcoming information during instructed visual search. In two visual-world eye-tracking experiments, we compared the processing patterns between native English speakers and Japanese learners of English. Participants’ eye-movements were recorded and analyzed to investigate whether listeners reached the correct target object faster when the sentence carried contrastive accent (L+H*) on the adjective in an adjective-noun pair (e.g., First, find the red cat. Next, find the PURPLEL+H* cat) compared to the condition in which the adjective carried new information accent (H*). The results showed that the use of contrastive L+H* accent led anticipatory looks to the target object both with native speakers and with L2 learners. In addition, the difference between the two types of prosody was increased in the final block of the experiment for L2 learners. This indicates that L2 learners learned to use the contrastive function of prosody in processing more as the experiment advanced by associating the phonetic features of L+H* with a contrastive interpretation with increased exposure.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-177

Cite as: Nakamura, C., Harris, J., Jun, S. (2020) Learning to Anticipate Contrast with Prosody: A Visual World Study with L2 Learners. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 867-871, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-177.


@inproceedings{Nakamura2020,
  author={Chie Nakamura and Jesse Harris and Sun-Ah Jun},
  title={{Learning to Anticipate Contrast with Prosody:  A Visual World Study with L2 Learners}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={867--871},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-177},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-177}
}