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Ear & Hearing:
doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000016
Brief Reports

Influence of Early Linguistic Experience on Regional Dialect Categorization by an Adult Cochlear Implant User: A Case Study

Tamati, Terrin N.1; Gilbert, Jaimie L.2; Pisoni, David B.1,3,4

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Abstract

To investigate the ability of a cochlear implant user to categorize talkers by region of origin and examine the influence of prior linguistic experience on the perception of regional dialect variation. A postlingually deafened adult cochlear implant user from the Southern region of the United States completed a six-alternative forced-choice dialect categorization task. The cochlear implant user was most accurate at categorizing unfamiliar talkers from his own region and another familiar dialect region, and least accurate at categorizing talkers from less familiar regions. Although the dialect-specific information made available by a cochlear implant may be degraded compared with information available to normal-hearing listeners, this experienced cochlear implant user was able to reliably categorize unfamiliar talkers by region of origin. The participant made use of dialect-specific acoustic-phonetic information in the speech signal and previously stored knowledge of regional dialect differences from early exposure before implantation despite an early hearing loss.

Copyright © 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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