Imitating speech in an unfamiliar language and an unfamiliar non-native accent in the native language

Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Imitating speech in an unfamiliar language and an unfamiliar non-native accent in the native language. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1362-1366). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
This study concerns individual differences in speech imitation ability and the role that lexical representations play in imitation. We examined 1) whether imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar language (L0) is related to imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar non-native accent in the speaker’s native language (L1) and 2) whether it is easier or harder to imitate speech when you know the words to be imitated. Fifty-nine native Dutch speakers imitated words with target vowels in Basque (/a/ and /e/) and Greekaccented Dutch (/i/ and /u/). Spectral and durational analyses of the target vowels revealed no relationship between the success of L0 and L1 imitation and no difference in performance between tasks (i.e., L1 imitation was neither aided nor blocked by lexical knowledge about the correct pronunciation). The results suggest instead that the relationship of the vowels to native phonological categories plays a bigger role in imitation
Publication type
Proceedings paper
Publication date
2019

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