Normalization for speechrate in native and nonnative speech

Bosker, H. R., & Reinisch, E. (2015). Normalization for speechrate in native and nonnative speech. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congresses of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.
Speech perception involves a number of processes that deal with variation in the speech signal. One such process is normalization for speechrate: local temporal cues are perceived relative to the rate in the surrounding context. It is as yet unclear whether and how this perceptual effect interacts with higher level impressions of rate, such as a speaker’s nonnative identity. Nonnative speakers typically speak more slowly than natives, an experience that listeners take into account when explicitly judging the rate of nonnative speech. The present study investigated whether this is also reflected in implicit rate normalization. Results indicate that nonnative speech is implicitly perceived as faster than temporally-matched native speech, suggesting that the additional cognitive load of listening to an accent speeds up rate perception. Therefore, rate perception in speech is not dependent on syllable durations alone but also on the ease of processing of the temporal signal.
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