The Influence of Ambient Speech on Adult Speech Productions through Unintentional Imitation

Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, Bruxelles, Belgique.
Phonetica (Impact Factor: 0.42). 02/2007; 64(2-3):145-73. DOI: 10.1159/0000107914
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper deals with the influence of ambient speech on individual speech productions. A methodological framework is defined to gather the experimental data necessary to feed computer models simulating self-organisation in phonological systems. Two experiments were carried out. Experiment 1 was run on French native speakers from two regiolects of Belgium: two from Liège and two from Brussels. When exposed to the way of speaking of the other regiolect via loudspeakers, the speakers of one regiolect produced vowels that were significantly different from their typical realisations, and significantly closer to the way of speaking specific of the other regiolect. Experiment 2 achieved a replication of the results for 8 Mons speakers hearing a Liège speaker. A significant part of the imitative effect remained up to 10 min after the end of the exposure to the other regiolect productions. As a whole, the results suggest that: (i) imitation occurs automatically and unintentionally, (ii) the modified realisations leave a memory trace, in which case the mechanism may be better defined as 'mimesis' than as 'imitation'. The potential effects of multiple imitative speech interactions on sound change are discussed in this paper, as well as the implications for a general theory of phonetic implementation and phonetic representation.

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Available from: Véronique Delvaux, Aug 30, 2015
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    • "In addition to Babel's work on New Zealand English, Delvaux and Soquet (2007) have found cross-dialect accommodation in regional varieties of Belgian French, while Phillips and Clopper (2012) found no acoustic evidence of accommodation (though weak perceptual evidence). Kim et al. (2011), comparing accommodation between D(ialect)1-D1 speakers, D1-D2 speakers, and L(anguage)1-L2 speakers find convergence in the first, but not the two latter pairings, summarizing that their results " generally support the hypothesis that closer interlocutor language distance facilitates phonetic convergence between talkers in conversations " (p. "
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    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00546 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "In a similar vein, Babel (2012) also found that accommodation can be affected by perceptions of likeability of the model speaker. Furthermore, it has been found that the target voice does not need be attributed to an overt model, as speakers are found to shift toward voices that are simply present in the ambient environment (Delvaux & Soquet, 2007). These results indicate that one's phonetic productions can be affected by the speech of others, even speech in the environment, and that one's preconceptions or attitudes towards a speaker can also influence the effect. "
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    ABSTRACT: The short front vowels KIT /ɪ/, TRAP /æ/, and DRESS /ɛ/differ in their realization between speakers in New Zealand and Australian English. This paper analyses how New Zealanders produce these vowels when in an Australian-primed context. Two studies are undertaken. The first - a corpus analysis - looks at the realization of these vowels in New Zealanders' spontaneous talk about Australia. The second - an experiment - looks at the realization of these vowels in a word reading task, following the production of Australia-related lexical items. Both the experiment and the corpus analysis show differences in participant productions across Australia and non-Australia contexts. The corpus analysis shows a significant effect on the realization of the KIT and TRAP vowels, with Australian contexts associated with more Australian realizations. Both the corpus and the experiment reveal a significant interaction between speaker experience and context for DRESS. Only speakers who have ample previous experience with Australian English produce more Australian variants in an Australian context. These results highlight how different methodological approaches can provide different angles on the same question. Together, they show that subtle topic-based variation in speech production can occur. They also indicate that individual speakers' experience and beliefs can also play an important mediating role.
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    • "In this framework, accommodation is a communication strategy by which interacting individuals reduce interpersonal differences or social distance, express solidarity or intimacy, reactivate a shared identity, etc. On the other hand, some authors have argued that short-term accommodation does not result from speakers' overt decisions to coordinate, but instead arises through low-level priming mechanisms (e.g., hearing a linguistic form automatically facilitates production of the same linguistic form), as through interactive alignment of speakers' representations (Garrod and Pickering, 2004) or automatic and unintentional mimesis (Delvaux and Soquet, 2007). However, several reports strongly suggest that automatic priming mechanisms or even mirror neuron systems cannot be the only factors shaping when and how speakers converge (Pardo, 2012 for a review). "
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