Informational masking of multi talker babble in English vowel identification for Spanish-English bilinguals
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Speech perception studies with bilinguals have demonstrated that bilinguals perform comparably to native speakers in listening conditions during quiet conditions. However, when the listening conditions included different types of noise, and different SNRs, bilinguals are seen to have difficulties and perform lower than native speakers when tested in their L2. With Spanish-English bilinguals becoming a large part of the U.S. population, the present study investigated their speech perception abilities using English vowels in different quiet and noise conditions. The participants were controlled for their age of acquisition of English in order to determine if the amount of exposure to the language affected their overall performance. In addition, the amount of informational masking was evaluated using comparisons with the babble and temporally modulated noise conditions. Results indicated that the later bilinguals experienced more difficulties throughout the different conditions when compared to the simultaneous and early bilinguals, but significance levels were only noted for a few of the conditions. Additionally, there were no major effects for informational masking.