The Neural Processing of Second Language Comprehension Modulated by the Degree of Proficiency: A Listening Connected Speech fMRI Study
Isabelle Hesling*, Bixente Dilharreguy, Martine Bordessoules, Michèle Allard
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2012
First Page: 44
Last Page: 54
Publisher ID: TONIJ-6-44
Article History:Received Date: 21/12/2011
Revision Received Date: 27/1/2012
Acceptance Date: 27/1/2012
Electronic publication date: 13/7/2012
Collection year: 2012
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
While the neural network encompassing the processing of the mother tongue (L1) is well defined and has revealed the existence of a bilateral ventral pathway and a left dorsal pathway in which 3 loops have been defined, the question of the processing of a second language (L2) is still a matter of debate. Among variables accounting for the discrepancies in results, the degree of L2 proficiency appears to be one of the main factors. The present study aimed at assessing both pathways in L2, making it possible to determine the degree of mastery of the different speech components (prosody, phonology, semantics and syntax) that are intrinsically embedded within connected speech and that vary according to the degree of proficiency using high degrees of prosodic information. Two groups of high and moderate proficiency in L2 performed an fMRI comprehension task in L1 and L2. The modifications in brain activity observed within the dorsal and the ventral pathways according to L2 proficiency suggest that different processes of L2 are supported by differences in the integrated activity within distributed networks that included the left STSp, the left Spt and the left pars triangularis.