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Lyzzette Melgoza (SURF SSHA)

Speech-to-Song Illusion in English Monolinguals and Spanish-English Bilinguals

Lyzzette A. Melgoza, Dylan Richardson, Alejandra Santoyo, Kristina C. Backer, PhD

Music and Speech are used frequently in our everyday lives. Despite the impression that speech and music are distinct forms of auditory stimuli, Deutsch et al. (2011) found that an unedited, spoken phrase repeated in close succession will eventually be heard as sung and named this phenomenon the Speech-to-Song Illusion. In this study, we look to replicate and extend the research done by Margulis et al. (2015), in which they found that English monolinguals experience a stronger speech-to-song illusion in languages that are more difficult to pronounce than English. We believe that the monolingual English speakers will perceive a greater effect on the speech-to-song illusion when listening to the Spanish stimuli because of their inexperience with the language, and the Spanish-English bilinguals should have a less illusionary effect because of their experience with both languages. Using the CLEARPOND database (Marian et al., 2012), we generated a high- and low- frequency list of words in English and Spanish. The participants used a 5-point Likert scale to rate the stimuli “sounds exactly like speech” and “sounds exactly like singing” after hearing the list once and after a series of 9 repetitions. We expect our findings to coincide with Margulis et al. (2015), and have the Spanish-English bilinguals experience a less robust speech-to-song illusion than English monolinguals when listening to the Spanish stimuli.


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