Identification and discrimination of bilingual talkers across languages

Stephen J. Winters, Susannah V. Levi, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the extent to which language familiarity affects the perception of the indexical properties of speech by testing listeners' identification and discrimination of bilingual talkers across two different languages. In one experiment, listeners were trained to identify bilingual talkers speaking in only one language and were then tested on their ability to identify the same talkers speaking in another language. In the second experiment, listeners discriminated between bilingual talkers across languages in an AX discrimination paradigm. The results of these experiments indicate that there is sufficient language-independent indexical information in speech for listeners to generalize knowledge of talkers' voices across languages and to successfully discriminate between bilingual talkers regardless of the language they are speaking. However, the results of these studies also revealed that listeners do not solely rely on language-independent information when performing these tasks. Listeners use language-dependent indexical cues to identify talkers who are speaking a familiar language. Moreover, the tendency to perceive two talkers as the "same" or "different" depends on whether the talkers are speaking in the same language. The combined results of these experiments thus suggest that indexical processing relies on both language-dependent and language-independent information in the speech signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4524-4538
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification and discrimination of bilingual talkers across languages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this