This study investigated whether early bilingualism and early musical training positively influence the ability to discriminate between prosodic patterns corresponding to different syntactic structures in otherwise phonetically identical sentences in an unknown language. In a same-different discrimination task, participants (N = 108) divided into four groups (monolingual non-musicians, monolingual musicians, bilingual non-musicians, and bilingual musicians) listened to pairs of short sentences in a language unknown to them (French). In discriminating phonetically identical but prosodically different sentences, musicians, bilinguals, and bilingual musicians outperformed the controls. However, there was no interaction between bilingualism and musical training to suggest an additive effect. These results underscore the significant role of both types of experience in enhancing the listeners' sensitivity to prosodic information.
Stepanov, A,. Pavlič, M., Stateva, P. & Reboul, A. 2018. Children’s bilingualism and early musical training influence prosodic discrimination of syntactic structure in an unknown language. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 143.