ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

Training with embodied musical activities has positive effects on unfamiliar language imitation skills

Yuan Zhang, Florence Baills, Pilar Prieto

Research shows that musical expertise benefits second language (L2) phonological learning [1], however little is known on the potential effects of training musical melodic and rhythmic skills on language production skills. This study investigated the role of training musical features such as melody, rhythm, and accent with embodied activities [2] (e.g., without any spoken input) on imitation skills. We hypothesized that embodied musical learning would activate participants' melodic and rhythmic musical skills, which will transfer to their ability to imitate speech. Fifty Chinese adolescents participated in three 45-minute classroom training sessions. They were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: the Embodied Music group followed rhythmic and melodic activities involving body movements; the Non-Embodied Music group followed traditional music classes. Before and after training, participants took part in a sentence-imitation task involving six unfamiliar languages. For each language, imitation skills were evaluated in terms of accentedness by three native speakers. Results showed a significantly higher improvement in the Embodied Music group. These findings demonstrate for the first time the beneficial effects of training students with embodied musical activities on speech imitation skills and add evidence to the relationship between musical rhythmic and melodic features and speech.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-147

Cite as: Zhang, Y., Baills, F., Prieto, P. (2022) Training with embodied musical activities has positive effects on unfamiliar language imitation skills. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 723-727, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-147

@inproceedings{zhang22b_speechprosody,
  author={Yuan Zhang and Florence Baills and Pilar Prieto},
  title={{Training with embodied musical activities has positive effects on unfamiliar language imitation skills}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={723--727},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-147}
}