Witteman, M. J., Bardhan, N. P., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011).Adapting to foreign-accented speech: The role of delay in testing. Poster presented at 162nd meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, San Diego, USA.
Understanding speech usually seems easy, but it can become noticeably harder when the speaker has a foreign accent. This is because foreign accents add considerable variation to speech. Research on foreign-accented speech shows that participants are able to adapt quickly to this type of variation. Less is known, however, about longer-term maintenance of adaptation. The current study focused on long-term adaptation by exposing native listeners to foreign-accented speech on Day 1, and testing them on comprehension of the accent one day later. Comprehension was thus not tested immediately, but only after a 24 hour period. On Day 1, native Dutch listeners listened to the speech of a Hebrew learner of Dutch while performing a phoneme monitoring task that did not depend on the talker’s accent. In particular, shortening of the long vowel /i/ into /ɪ/ (e.g., lief [li:f], ‘sweet’, pronounced as [lɪf]) was examined. These mispronunciations did not create lexical ambiguities in Dutch. On Day 2, listeners participated in a cross-modal priming task to test their comprehension of the accent. The results will be contrasted with results from an experiment without delayed testing and related to accounts of how listeners maintain adaptation to foreign-accented speech.