Language learning experience and mastering the challenges of perceiving speech in noise

Shanna Kousaie, S. Baum, Natalie A. Phillips, Vincent Gracco, D. Titone, Jen Kai Chen, Xiaoqian J. Chai, Denise Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Given the ubiquity of noisy environments and increasing globalization, the necessity to perceive speech in noise in a non-native language is common and necessary for successful communication. In the current investigation, bilingual individuals who learned their non-native language at different ages underwent magnetic resonance imaging while listening to sentences in both of their languages, in quiet and in noise. Sentence context was varied such that the final word could be of high or low predictability. Results show that early non-native language learning is associated with superior ability to benefit from contextual information behaviourally, and a pattern of neural recruitment in the left inferior frontal gyrus that suggests easier processing when perceiving non-native speech in noise. These findings have implications for our understanding of speech processing in non-optimal listening conditions and shed light on how individuals navigate every day complex communicative environments, in a native and non-native language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104645
JournalBrain and Language
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Age of acquisition
  • Bilingualism
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Language
  • Speech perception in noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Language learning experience and mastering the challenges of perceiving speech in noise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this