The Effect of Age of Second-Language Acquisition on Arabic-English bilingual English Speech Perception in Noise.
Saleh, H. (2017) The Effect of Age of Second-Language Acquisition on Arabic-English bilingual English Speech Perception in Noise., no. 89.
Aims: The effect of age of language acquisition is a matter of contention in the literature, with the general consensus being that language acquisition earlier in life leads to more successful mastery of the language. Some research has been done to determine the exact nature of the effect of age of second language acquisition on second language proficiency, namely speech perception. The aim of this empirical study was to shed light on the effect of age of English acquisition on Arabic-English bilingual students' English speech perception in noise. The difference between the speech perception of late and early Arabic-English bilinguals was assessed, and the most significant factors causing any difference between them were investigated. Method: The participant base consisted of 15 monolingual (native) English speakers, 10 Arabic- English bilinguals who learned English prior to the age of 6 (early bilinguals), and 9 Arabic- English bilinguals who learned English after the age of 14(late bilinguals). Their English speech perception was tested using the AB word list test and the QuickSIN test which test speech perception in quiet and in noise, respectively. Results: The early bilinguals were found to have more accurate speech perception than the late bilinguals in both the quiet and noisy listening situations. The early bilinguals had native-like proficiency in the quiet environment and the late bilinguals never achieved native-like speech perception. In the speech-in-noise test it was found that age of L2 acquisition was the only significant predictor of speech perception compared to other variables such as daily English use and English experience in years. In the speech-in-quiet test no individual factor was found to be a significant predictor.