Most native Japanese speakers have difficulty speaking English and therefore cannot communicate well in English with native English speakers. We have proposed a method ‘Speak like a native’ that can convert the speech rhythm of an English sentences spoken by a native Japanese speakers into stress-timed rhythm by a native English speaker. However, few studies have investigated the neural mechanisms of speech rhythm. In this study, we performed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans when native English speakers listened to English sentences spoken by a Japanese native speaker (Japanese rhythm) and the converted speech (English rhythm). Results showed that supplementary motor area (SMA) was activated more by Japanese (less natural) rhythm than by English (natural) rhythm.
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