Hans Rutger Bosker

Publications

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
  • Bosker, H. R., Quené, H., Sanders, T. J. M., & de Jong, N. H. (2014). Native 'um's elicit prediction of low-frequency referents, but non-native 'um's do not. Journal of Memory and Language, 75, 104-116. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.004.

    Abstract

    Speech comprehension involves extensive use of prediction. Linguistic prediction may be guided by the semantics or syntax, but also by the performance characteristics of the speech signal, such as disfluency. Previous studies have shown that listeners, when presented with the filler uh, exhibit a disfluency bias for discourse-new or unknown referents, drawing inferences about the source of the disfluency. The goal of the present study is to study the contrast between native and non-native disfluencies in speech comprehension. Experiment 1 presented listeners with pictures of high-frequency (e.g., a hand) and low-frequency objects (e.g., a sewing machine) and with fluent and disfluent instructions. Listeners were found to anticipate reference to low-frequency objects when encountering disfluency, thus attributing disfluency to speaker trouble in lexical retrieval. Experiment 2 showed that, when participants listened to disfluent non-native speech, no anticipation of low-frequency referents was observed. We conclude that listeners can adapt their predictive strategies to the (non-native) speaker at hand, extending our understanding of the role of speaker identity in speech comprehension.
  • Bosker, H. R., Quené, H., Sanders, T. J. M., & de Jong, N. H. (2014). The perception of fluency in native and non-native speech. Language Learning, 64, 579-614. doi:10.1111/lang.12067.

    Abstract

    Where native speakers supposedly are fluent by default, non-native speakers often have to strive hard to achieve a native-like fluency level. However, disfluencies (such as pauses, fillers, repairs, etc.) occur in both native and non-native speech and it is as yet unclear ow luency raters weigh the fluency characteristics of native and non-native speech. Two rating experiments compared the way raters assess the luency of native and non-native speech. The fluency characteristics of native and non- native speech were controlled by using phonetic anipulations in pause (Experiment 1) and speed characteristics (Experiment 2). The results show that the ratings on manipulated native and on-native speech were affected in a similar fashion. This suggests that there is no difference in the way listeners weigh the fluency haracteristics of native and non-native speakers.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2014). The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech. PhD Thesis, Utrecht University, Utrecht.

    Abstract

    Disfluency is a common characteristic of spontaneously produced speech. Disfluencies (e.g., silent pauses, filled pauses [uh’s and uhm’s], corrections, repetitions, etc.) occur in both native and non-native speech. There appears to be an apparent contradiction between claims from the evaluative and cognitive approach to fluency. On the one hand, the evaluative approach shows that non-native disfluencies have a negative effect on listeners’ subjective fluency impressions. On the other hand, the cognitive approach reports beneficial effects of native disfluencies on cognitive processes involved in speech comprehension, such as prediction and attention. This dissertation aims to resolve this apparent contradiction by combining the evaluative and cognitive approach. The reported studies target both the evaluation (Chapters 2 and 3) and the processing of fluency (Chapters 4 and 5) in native and non-native speech. Thus, it provides an integrative account of native and non-native fluency perception, informative to both language testing practice and cognitive psycholinguists. The proposed account of fluency perception testifies to the notion that speech performance matters: communication through spoken language does not only depend on what is said, but also on how it is said and by whom.
  • Pinget, A.-F., Bosker, H. R., Quené, H., & de Jong, N. H. (2014). Native speakers' perceptions of fluency and accent in L2 speech. Language Testing, 31, 349-365. doi:10.1177/0265532214526177.

    Abstract

    Oral fluency and foreign accent distinguish L2 from L1 speech production. In language testing practices, both fluency and accent are usually assessed by raters. This study investigates what exactly native raters of fluency and accent take into account when judging L2. Our aim is to explore the relationship between objectively measured temporal, segmental and suprasegmental properties of speech on the one hand, and fluency and accent as rated by native raters on the other hand. For 90 speech fragments from Turkish and English L2 learners of Dutch, several acoustic measures of fluency and accent were calculated. In Experiment 1, 20 native speakers of Dutch rated the L2 Dutch samples on fluency. In Experiment 2, 20 different untrained native speakers of Dutch judged the L2 Dutch samples on accentedness. Regression analyses revealed that acoustic measures of fluency were good predictors of fluency ratings. Secondly, segmental and suprasegmental measures of accent could predict some variance of accent ratings. Thirdly, perceived fluency and perceived accent were only weakly related. In conclusion, this study shows that fluency and perceived foreign accent can be judged as separate constructs.
  • Poellmann, K., Bosker, H. R., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2014). Perceptual adaptation to segmental and syllabic reductions in continuous spoken Dutch. Journal of Phonetics, 46, 101-127. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.06.004.

    Abstract

    This study investigates if and how listeners adapt to reductions in casual continuous speech. In a perceptual-learning variant of the visual-world paradigm, two groups of Dutch participants were exposed to either segmental (/b/ → [ʋ]) or syllabic (ver- → [fː]) reductions in spoken Dutch sentences. In the test phase, both groups heard both kinds of reductions, but now applied to different words. In one of two experiments, the segmental reduction exposure group was better than the syllabic reduction exposure group in recognizing new reduced /b/-words. In both experiments, the syllabic reduction group showed a greater target preference for new reduced ver-words. Learning about reductions was thus applied to previously unheard words. This lexical generalization suggests that mechanisms compensating for segmental and syllabic reductions take place at a prelexical level, and hence that lexical access involves an abstractionist mode of processing. Existing abstractionist models need to be revised, however, as they do not include representations of sequences of segments (corresponding e.g. to ver-) at the prelexical level.

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