This paper investigates the role of pitch accent information in spoken-word recognition in listeners in Fukushima, Japan, whose dialect is accentless. Previous research revealed that accentless listeners were less sensitive to pitch accent than Tokyo Japanese listeners. The present study asked whether middle-aged listeners' use of accent information would differ from that of young listeners. 40 middle-aged Fukushima listeners were presented with Tokyo Japanese materials used in the earlier study, employing a gating task. Results show that middle-aged Fukushima accentless listeners are even less sensitive to the pitch accent information than the younger accentless listeners. The findings suggest that the exploitation of pitch information by younger listeners reflects adaptation to the standard Tokyo Japanese dialect, e.g., via the media, whereas the older listeners are less influenced by the standard.
Bibliographic reference. Otake, Takashi / Higuchi, Marii (2008): "The role of Japanese pitch accent in spoken-word recognition: evidence from middle-aged accentless dialect listeners", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 1097-1100.