Abstract

Previous research indicates that humans develop a phonological library in infancy. As humans grow into adulthood, their phonological library becomes well established. Upon encountering phonemes from a new language, humans process these phonemes by comparison to their native phonological library. Event-related potentials (ERP), specifically the mismatch negativity, have been shown to indicate that this process of comparing non-native phonemes to our native phonological library is not improved through learning the new language as an adult. An alternative explanation may be that there is an underlying change in the neural generators as the non-native phonemes are learned, but that this change is not reflected in the ERP. The current study seeks to examine this hypothesis through the simultaneous collection of ERP and blood-oxygen-level-dependent functional MRI (fMRI) data. The findings of the ERP and fMRI data are inconclusive. The study also explores the processing of diphthongs, a category of phonemes rarely tested before, through both behavioral and neuroimaging methods. The study presents behavioral data demonstrating that non-native diphthongs are processed based upon the separate elements of the phonemes, rather than as complete units.

Degree

MS

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2018-11-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd10960

Keywords

diphthong, simultaneous EEG/fMRI, mismatch negativity, phoneme perception

Language

english

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