The temporal modulation structure of illiterate versus literate adult speech.
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
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Araújo, J., Flanagan, S., Castro-Caldas, A., & Goswami, U. (2018). The temporal modulation structure of illiterate versus literate adult speech.. PLoS One, 13 (10), e0205224. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205224
The temporal modulation structure of speech plays a key role in neural encoding of the speech signal. Amplitude modulations (AMs, quasi-rhythmic changes in signal energy or intensity) in speech are encoded by neuronal oscillations (rhythmic variations in neural excitability in large cell networks) that oscillate at matching temporal rates. To date, however, all neural studies have investigated adult-directed speech (ADS) as produced and perceived by highly literate adults. Whether temporal features of ADS vary with the skills of the speaker, for example literacy skills, is currently unknown. Here we analyse the temporal structure of ADS spoken by illiterate, low literate (≤ 4 years of literacy) and highly literate (≥ 12 years of literacy) adults. We find that illiterates produce speech differently. Spontaneous conversational speech produced by illiterate adults showed significantly less synchronised coupling between AM bands (less phase synchronisation) than conversational speech produced by low literate and highly literate adults, and contained significantly fewer syllables per second. There was also a significant relationship between years of literacy and the amount of theta-band energy in conversational speech. When asked to produce rhythmic proverbs learned in childhood, all groups could produce speech with similar AM phase synchronisation, suggesting that the differences in spontaneous conversational speech were not caused by physiological constraints. The data suggest that the temporal modulation structure of spoken language changes with the acquisition of cultural skills like literacy that are usually a product of schooling. There is a cultural effect on the temporal modulation structure of spoken language.
Temporal Lobe, Humans, Dyslexia, Speech, Learning, Memory, Speech Perception, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Male, Literacy
Medical Research Council (G0902375)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205224
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/286315
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/