Studies of speech perception in various types of background noise have shown that noise with linguistic content affects listeners differently than nonlinguistic noise [e.g., Simpson, S. A., and Cooke, M. (2005). “Consonant identification in N-talker babble is a nonmonotonic function of N,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am.118, 2775

2778
; Sperry, J. L., Wiley, T. L., and Chial, M. R. (1997). “Word recognition performance in various background competitors,” J. Am. Acad. Audiol.8, 71
80
] but few studies of multi-talker babble have employed background babble in languages other than the target speech language. To determine whether the adverse effect of background speech is due to the linguistic content or to the acoustic characteristics of the speech masker, this study assessed speech-in-noise recognition when the language of the background noise was either the same or different from the language of the target speech. Replicating previous findings, results showed poorer English sentence recognition by native English listeners in six-talker babble than in two-talker babble, regardless of the language of the babble. In addition, our results showed that in two-talker babble, native English listeners were more adversely affected by English babble than by Mandarin Chinese babble. These findings demonstrate informational masking on sentence-in-noise recognition in the form of “linguistic interference.” Whether this interference is at the lexical, sublexical, and/or prosodic levels of linguistic structure and whether it is modulated by the phonetic similarity between the target and noise languages remains to be determined.

1.
Assman
,
P. F.
, and
Summerfield
,
Q.
(
2004
). “
The perception of speech under adverse acoustic conditions
,”
Speech Processing and the Auditory System
, edited by
S.
Greenberg
,
W. A.
Ainsworth
,
A. N.
Popper
, and
R. R.
Fay
(
Springer
, Berlin), Vol.
18
.
2.
Bent
,
T.
, and
Bradlow
,
A. R.
(
2003
). “
The interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
114
,
1600
l610
.
3.
Bronkhorst
,
A. W.
(
2000
). “
The cocktail party phenomenon: A review of research on speech intelligibility in multiple-talker conditions
,”
Acust. Acta Acust.
86
,
117
128
.
4.
Bronkhorst
,
A. W.
, and
Plomp
,
R.
(
1992
). “
Effect of multiple speechlike maskers on binaural speech recognition in normal and impaired hearing
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
92
,
3132
3138
.
5.
Brungart
,
D. S.
,
Simpson
,
B. D.
,
Ericson
,
M. A.
, and
Scott
,
K. R.
(
2001
). “
Informational and energetic masking effects in the perception of multiple simultaneous talkers
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
110
,
2527
2538
.
6.
Byrne
,
D.
,
Dillon
,
H.
,
Tran
,
K.
,
Arlinger
,
S.
, and
Wilbraham
,
K.
(
1994
). “
An international comparison of long-term average speech spectra
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
96
,
2108
2120
.
7.
Cutler
,
A.
,
Webber
,
A.
,
Smits
,
R.
, and
Cooper
,
N.
(
2004
). “
Patterns of English phoneme confusions by native and non-native listeners
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
116
,
3668
3678
.
8.
Garcia Lecumberri
,
M. L.
, and
Cooke
,
M.
(
2006
). “
Effect of masker type on native and non-native consonant perception in noise
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
119
,
2445
2454
.
9.
Grabe
,
E.
, and
Low
,
E. L.
(
2002
). “
Durational variability in speech and the Rhythm Class Hypothesis
,”
Papers in Laboratory Phonology 7
(
Moutons-Gravenhage
).
10.
Jiang
,
J.
,
Chen
,
M.
, and
Alwan
,
A.
(
2006
). “
On the perception of voicing in syllable-initial plosives in noise
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
119
,
1092
1105
.
11.
Mattys
,
S. L.
,
White
,
L.
, and
Melhorn
,
J. F.
(
2005
). “
Integration of multiple speech segmentation cues: A hierarchical framework
,”
J. Exp. Psychol.
134
,
477
500
.
12.
Mayo
,
L. H.
,
Florentine
,
M.
, and
Buus
,
S.
(
1997
). “
Age of second-language acquisition and perception of speech in noise
,”
J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res.
40
,
686
693
.
13.
Nábělek
,
A. K.
, and
Donohue
,
A. M.
(
1984
). “
Perception of consonants in reverberation by native and non-native listeners
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
75
,
632
634
.
14.
Parikh
,
G.
, and
Loizou
,
P.
(
2005
). “
The influence of noise on vowel and consonant cues
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
118
,
3874
3888
.
15.
Ramus
,
F.
,
Nespor
,
M.
, and
Mehler
,
J.
(
1999
). “
Correlates of linguistic rhythm in the speech signal
,”
Cognition
7
,
265
292
.
16.
Rhebergen
,
K. S.
, and
Versfeld
,
N. J.
(
2005
). “
A Speech Intelligibility Index-based approach to predict the speech reception threshold for sentences in fluctuating noise for normal-hearing listeners
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
114
,
2181
2192
.
17.
Rhebergen
,
K. S.
,
Versfeld
,
N. J.
, and
Dreschler
,
W. A.
(
2005
). “
Release from informational masking by time reversal of native and non-native interfering speech (L)
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
118
,
1274
l277
.
18.
Rogers
,
C. L.
,
Dalby
,
J.
, and
Nishi
,
K.
(
2004
). “
Effects of noise and proficiency on intelligibility of Chinese-accented English
,”
Lang Speech
47
,
139
154
.
19.
Simpson
,
S. A.
, and
Cooke
,
M.
(
2005
). “
Consonant identification in N-talker babble is a nonmonotonic function of N
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
118
,
2775
2778
.
20.
Smiljanic
,
R.
, and
Bradlow
,
A. R.
(
2005
). “
Production and perception of clear speech in Croatian and English
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
118
,
1677
1688
.
21.
Sperry
,
J. L.
,
Wiley
,
T. L.
, and
Chial
,
M. R.
(
1997
). “
Word recognition performance in various background competitors
,”
J. Am. Acad. Audiol
8
,
71
80
.
22.
Studebaker
,
G. A.
(
1985
). “
A “Rationalized” Arcsine Transform
,”
J. Speech Hear. Res.
28
,
455
462
.
23.
Takata
,
Y.
, and
Nábělek
,
A. K.
(
1990
). “
English consonant recognition in noise and in reverberation by Japanese and American listeners
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
88
,
663
666
.
24.
Van Wijngaarden
,
S.
,
Steeneken
,
H.
, and
Houtgast
,
T.
(
2002
). “
Quantifying the intelligibility of speech in noise for non-native listeners
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
111
,
1906
1916
.
You do not currently have access to this content.