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The perception of dialect Julia Fischer-Weppler HS Speaker Characteristics Venice International University 17.10.2007.

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Presentation on theme: "The perception of dialect Julia Fischer-Weppler HS Speaker Characteristics Venice International University 17.10.2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 The perception of dialect Julia Fischer-Weppler HS Speaker Characteristics Venice International University

2 Perception of dialect Introduction Sources of variability are natural consequences of language variation Different forms of variability including the impact of regional dialect have to be included in speech perception research

3 Perception of dialect Introduction Dialect variation is perceived and encoded in everyday language situations The process of speech perception includes dealing with those variations

4 Adank and McQueen (2007) Goals of the Study To determine how variability due to regional accents affects the processing of words spoken in isolation To determine if short-term exposure to an unfamiliar accent affects the speed of processing words spoken in that accent

5 Adank and McQueen (2007) Experiment 30 participants, divided into two exposure groups: familiar accent (“Local Dutch”) and unfamiliar accent (Dutch spoken in East Flanders) Stimuli for animacy decision tests: 120 Dutch nouns spoken by two females of each accent Stimuli for exposure phase: 50 declarative sentences from six female speakers of each accent

6 Adank and McQueen (2007) Experiment Test 1: Listeners accomplished an animacy decision task for 30 words spoken from all four speakers The exposure phase lasted about 23 minutes participants performed a distracter task Test 2: Listeners repeated the animacy decision task

7 Adank and McQueen (2007) Results Performance was similar for both groups Performance across tests was alike for both groups Short-term exposure did not affect the speed of word processing But: for all participants speed of word comprehension was slower for words spoken in the unfamiliar accent

8 Clopper and Pisoni (2006) Goals of the Study To evaluate the perceptual similarity structure of regional dialect variation in the USA To further explore how residential history affects dialect perception

9 Clopper and Pisoni (2006) Hypotheses 1.Naïve listeners are predicted to produce a relatively small number of groups of talkers 2.Geographic mobility and location are expected to affect performance 3.Mobile listeners are presumed to have developed more perceptual dialect categories and are therefore expected to better distinguish different dialects and to create more groups of talkers

10 Clopper and Pisoni (2006) Experiment 1 66 talkers from six dialect regions in the US One (different) sentence per talker containing dialect-specific vowel shifts 22 listeners with different residential histories Listeners should group talkers in as many groups with as many members in each group as they wanted; no time limit was presented

11 Clopper and Pisoni (2006) Experiment 1 On average:10 groups of talkers, with a range from 3-30 and a median of 7 and 9.36 talkers per group with a range from 1-34 and a median of 4. Three main perceptual clusters: New England, South and Midwest/West Relevant dimensions for perceptual similarity: linguistic markedness and geography

12 Clopper and Pisoni (2006) Experiment 2 48 talkers, even number of males and females from six dialect regions in the US One novel sentence per speaker 87 Listeners, split up in 4 groups based on residential history (non-mobile Midland, non-mobile North, mobile Midland, mobile North) The task was the same as in Experiment 1

13 Clopper and Pisoni (2006) Experiment 2 On average:8.48 groups of talkers, with a range from 3-23 and a median of 8 and 7.08 talkers per group with a range from 1-38 and a median of 4. Significantly more groups for mobile listeners No significant difference in the ability to correctly group the talkers by dialect Relevant dimensions for perceptual similarity: markedness, gender, geography

14 Adank et al. (2007) Goals of the Study Eliciting regional variation patterns in the vowel system of Standard Dutch spoken in the Netherlands and Flanders Improving the language’s vowel system description by including regional varieties Providing an overview of the extent of regional variation of the Dutch vowel system

15 Adank et al. (2007) Experiment 160 Dutch teachers (professional language users) from four different regions of each country Target vowels were produced in carrier sentences Measurements of duration and formant frequencies of F1 and F2 for the 4800 vowel tokens were analyzed

16 Adank et al. (2007) Results Enough regional information was present in the steady-state formant frequency measurements of vowels produced by professional users of the standard language to correctly classify the majority of the speakers into the appropriate speech community

17 Discussion and Conclusion Research on the relationship between regional, social and ethnic language variation is rapidly growing It shows that listeners are able to make judgments about residential background and social characteristics based on the speech signal


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