Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
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The present article addresses the extent to which learners’ mental representations, in particular the phonological and lexical representations of learners’ background languages, influence their ability to perceive and extract linguistic units from a novel speech stream. In the study, native speakers of French were exposed to an unfamiliar language, either Polish or Modern Standard Arabic. A word recognition test taken at first exposure revealed important differences in how French speakers/listeners extract words from the Polish or Arabic speech stream, suggesting that source language representations work differently depending on the specificities of the target language. In addition to providing insights into the effects of source and target language properties on speech perception, these results contribute to on-going discussions about what constitutes crosslinguistic influence and conceptual transfer in second language acquisition research.


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