This study investigated the effects of L2 learning experience in relation to L1 background on hemispheric processing of Japanese pitch accent. Native Mandarin Chinese (tonal L1) and English (non-tonal L1) learners of Japanese were tested using dichotic listening. These listener groups were compared with those recruited in Wu, Tu & Wang (2012), including native Mandarin and English listeners without Japanese experience and native Japanese listeners. Results revealed an overall right-hemisphere preference across groups, suggesting acoustically oriented processing. Individual pitch accent patterns also revealed pattern-specific laterality differences, further reflecting acoustic-level processing. However, listener group differences indicated L1 effects, with the Chinese but not English listeners approximating the Japanese patterns. Furthermore, English learners but not naïve listeners exhibited a shift towards the native direction, revealing effects of L2 learning. These findings imply integrated effects of acoustic and linguistic aspects on Japanese pitch accent processing as a function of L1 and L2 experience.
ASJC Scopus subject areas