Author(s): Winkler I, Kujala T, Tiitinen H, Sivonen P, Alku P,
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Abstract Learning to speak a new language requires the formation of recognition patterns for the speech sounds specific to the newly acquired language. The present study demonstrates the dynamic nature of cortical memory representations for phonemes in adults by using the mismatch negativity (MMN) event-related potential. We studied Hungarian and Finnish subjects, dividing the Hungarians into a naive (no knowledge of Finnish) and a fluent (in Finnish) group. We found that the MMN for a contrast between two Finnish phonemes was elicited in the fluent Hungarians but not in the naive Hungarians. This result indicates that the fluent Hungarians developed cortical memory representations for the Finnish phoneme system that enabled them to preattentively categorize phonemes specific to this language.
This article was published in Psychophysiology
and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology