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Abstract

Previous research has shown that speech perception can be influenced by a speaker's social characteristics, including the expected dialect area of the speaker (Niedzielski 1999; Hay et al. 2006a). This article reports on an experiment designed to test to degree to which exposure to the concept of a region can also influence perception. In order to invoke the concept, we exposed participants, who were all speakers of New Zealand English, to either stuffed toy kangaroos and koalas (associated with Australia) or stuffed toy kiwis (associated with New Zealand). Participants then completed a perception task in which they matched natural vowels produced by a male New Zealander to vowels from a synthesized continuum which ranged from raised and fronted Australian-like tokens to lowered and centralized New Zealand-like tokens. Our results indicate that perception of the vowels shifted depending on which set of toys the participants had seen. This supports models of speech perception in which linguistic and non-linguistic information are intricately entwined.

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... It is interesting to observe that the letter x (which in Portuguese is the most emblematic orthographic representation of [ʃ]) has been used in written communication to highlight the Florianopolitan way of speaking, reinforcing the stereotype of the native resident. 5 Several studies have investigated the bias caused by social stereotypes in phonetic perception, namely gender (Munson 2011;Strand & Johnson 1996) and the assumed nationality of the speakers (Hay & Drager 2010;Hay et al. 2006;Niedzielski 1999). Strand & Johnson (1996) proposed an experiment on the perception of fricative sibilants in American English in which they presented videos of men and women pronouncing the words sod and shod. ...
... The interference of stereotypes triggered even by symbols related to nationality (such as stuffed toys, such as a kangaroo for Australia and a koala for New Zealand) was also significant, as shown by Hay & Drager (2010) in an experiment about the perception of the vowel raising and fronting in the English varieties spoken in Australia and New Zealand. ...
... Such dynamics surpasses the phonetic perception per se by ignoring the acoustic cues. This fact reinforces the findings of Strand & Johnson (1996), Niedzielski (1999), Hay et al. (2006), Hay & Drager (2010), and Munson (2011) about how stereotypes may distort phonetic perception. ...
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The allophonic variation of coda /S/ in the Florianopolitan variety of Brazilian Portuguese shows explicit associations between [ʃ] and the local stereotype of native resident – one who was raised in Florianópolis whose parents were also raised in the area. We hypothesize that the aforementioned explicit association is an implicit association, that is, an unconscious and automatic one. We argue that an implicit association towards the native resident stereotype is a cognitive bias that affects how Florianopolitans perceive the speech of other Florianopolitans. The strength of the associations was verified in terms of participants’ linguistic background. In order to do so, an Implicit Association Test and an explicit task pairing the [ʃ]/[s] variants with the native/non-native resident stereotypes were applied to 30 Florianopolitans whose parents were native, non-native, or mixed-origin residents. We found that an implicit association is at play in a moderate fashion. However, linguistic background only predicted the explicit association. More important, the fact that Florianopolitans explicitly chose the guise containing [ʃ] as the most representative of the speech of the native resident – even though some participants reported that non-existent prosodic elements differentiated the guises – reinforces the role of implicit cognitive biases on the social perception of coda /S/.
... This finding speaks in favour of age of the voice being stored together with the word and hence in favour of episodic representations. Such context effects even go beyond a mere acoustic similarity between signal and stored representation and extend to non-linguistic factors: In this regard, Hay and Drager (2010) showed that listeners (from New Zealand) shift their vowel categories depending on the association they created with the task (induced by a toy present in the room, either a kangaroo/koala generating associations with Australia or a kiwi generating associations with New Zealand). Specifically, Hay and Drager (2010) asked listeners to match the pronunciation of a short vowel [ɪ], e.g., in fit embedded in a sentence, to a 6-step-continuum of [ɪ]-vowels. ...
... Such context effects even go beyond a mere acoustic similarity between signal and stored representation and extend to non-linguistic factors: In this regard, Hay and Drager (2010) showed that listeners (from New Zealand) shift their vowel categories depending on the association they created with the task (induced by a toy present in the room, either a kangaroo/koala generating associations with Australia or a kiwi generating associations with New Zealand). Specifically, Hay and Drager (2010) asked listeners to match the pronunciation of a short vowel [ɪ], e.g., in fit embedded in a sentence, to a 6-step-continuum of [ɪ]-vowels. In this continuum, the first and second formants in [ɪ] were manipulated to resemble Australian-like [ɪ]-vowels (lower F2, higher F1) and New Zealandlike [ɪ]-vowels (more central, higher F1 and lower F2). ...
... Contributing to the debate on the nature of representations Our findings may also contribute to the debate on the nature of lexical representations. In Chapter 3, we argued that there is abundant evidence for the storage of detailed representations that may contain information about fine-acoustic details, such as voice, speaking rate, but also about social or contextual cues, such as word age or regional associations (e.g., Bradlow et al., 1999;Hay & Drager, 2010;Mendoza-Denton et al., 2003;Pierrehumbert, 2016;A. Walker & Hay, 2011). ...
... Yet, there is some evidence that non-linguistic changes in the external environment may also impact linguistic behavior. Hay and Drager (2010), for example, found that including region-specific objects in the experimental environment, such as a stuffed kangaroo (i.e., Australia-specific) or kiwi (New Zealand-specific), impacted vowel perception. The authors suggest that objects in the "ambient environment" can impact participant phonetic perception (p. ...
... Broadly, this research has shown that, over time, both a speaker's L2 and L1 (Bergmann et al. 2016;Major 1992;Stoehr et al. 2017) shift in the direction of the language of the broader community. Considering short-term sources of cross-linguistic phonetic influence, previous work has highlighted several short-term sources, including the language of a given interaction (e.g., Amengual 2018;Olson 2013;Simonet 2014), the use of code-switching (Antoniou et al. 2011;Balukas and Koops 2015;Bullock et al. 2006;Olson 2016), the presence of salient region-specific extra-linguistic cues in the interactional environment (Hay and Drager 2010), and visible (e.g., Babel and Russell 2015;Koops et al. 2008) and non-visible (Niedzielski 1999) social information about an interlocutor. Considering this line of research, it was anticipated that linguistic environment would impact production in the short-term, with phonetic targets shifting in the direction of the broader linguistic environment. ...
... One possible explanation for the lack of a short-term impact of linguistic environment is that the immediate local context of an interaction may be more relevant than the broader environment in which an interaction takes place. In much of the previous research on short-term sources of cross-linguistic phonetic influence, the source of the influence is present either in the interaction itself, either real (i.e., the language(s) required by the paradigm (e.g., Simonet 2014)) or imagined (i.e., visible or non-visible sociolinguistic cues (e.g., Babel and Russell 2015)), or is present in the physical environment that immediately surrounds participants (i.e., region-specific cues in the experimental setting (Hay and Drager 2010)). In each of these cases, the source of the short-term phonetic influence is in the speaker's immediate context. ...
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While previous research has shown that bilinguals are able to effectively maintain two sets of phonetic norms, these two phonetic systems experience varying degrees of cross-linguistic influence, driven by both long-term (e.g., proficiency, immersion) and short-term (e.g., bilingual language contexts, code-switching, sociolinguistic) factors. This study examines the potential for linguistic environment, or the language norms of the broader community in which an interaction takes place, to serve as a source of short-term cross-linguistic phonetic influence. To investigate the role of linguistic environment, late bilinguals (L1 English—L2 Spanish) produced Spanish utterances in two sessions that differed in their linguistic environments: an English-dominant linguistic environment (Indiana, USA) and a Spanish-dominant linguistic environment (Madrid, Spain). Productions were analyzed at the fine-grained acoustic level, through an acoustic analysis of voice onset time, as well as more holistically through native speaker global accent ratings. Results showed that linguistic environment did not significantly impact either measure of phonetic production, regardless of a speaker’s second language proficiency. These results, in conjunction with previous results on long- and short-term sources of phonetic influence, suggest a possible primacy of the immediate context of an interaction, rather than broader community norms, in determining language mode and cross-linguistic influence.
... For instance, in a partial replication of Niedzielski (1999), Hay et al. (2006a) found that participants who were told that they were listening to a New Zealander were still influenced by the words "Australia" or "New Zealand" printed at the top of their answer sheet, in that they were more likely to hear a fronter /I/ vowel in the Australia condition, reflecting the realization of this vowel in Australian English. Hay and Drager (2010) have suggested that even subtler nonconscious activation of regional groups can influence speech perception as well. For each experimental condition, a stuffed animal representative of either Australia (kangaroo and koala) or New Zealand (kiwi) was placed somewhere in the room, though the participant's attention was not drawn to it. ...
... In the "Label-Triggered" Condition, participants hear a Midland-accented talker but are told the talker is from the South and has a Southern accent; in this case, only top-down information would provide cues to activate glide-weakened /aI/. Based on previous literature suggesting that both top-down (Niedzielski, 1999;Koops et al., 2008;Hay and Drager, 2010) and bottom-up (Theodore and Miller, 2010) information triggers expectations, I predict that both types of cues can elicit glide-weakened /aI/, though the effect may be somewhat weaker due to the conflicting information provided by the two different sources of information. ...
... Hay et al. (2006a) found that participants who all heard the same New Zealand talker judged the talker's /I/ vowels as fronter (i.e., more Australian-like) when the word "Australia" was printed at the top of their answer sheet-regardless of being told they were listening to a New Zealander. Similarly, Hay and Drager (2010) found that, participants being in a room with stuffed toys representing different dialect groups (a kangaroo or koala for Australia or a kiwi for New Zealand) resulted in similar shifts in vowel categorization. Both studies have considered these findings support for exemplar-theoretic models of speech, in which social concepts activate associated linguistic forms that then influence production. ...
Article
Full-text available
The dissertation examines the relationship between social and linguistic knowledge using a series of experiments eliciting linguistic convergence to Southern speech. I draw a terminological and theoretical distinction between previously observed input-driven convergence, in which speakers converge toward a linguistic form directly observed in the input, and expectation-driven convergence, in which speakers converge toward a linguistic form they only expect but do not observe in the immediate input. Using a novel Word Naming Game paradigm designed to elicit convergence toward expected rather than observed linguistic behavior, Experiment 1 finds experimental evidence for expectation-driven convergence, which had previously only been anecdotally observed; participants converge toward glide-weakened /ay/, a salient feature of Southern English, which they may expect but never directly observe from a Southern-accented model talker. The existence of expectation-driven convergence suggests that accounts of convergence relying on tight perception-production links where production is derived directly and automatically from the input cannot straightforwardly explain all instances of convergence. Experiment 2 investigates the perceptual underpinnings of input- and expectation-driven convergence using an auditory lexical decision task in which participants judge glide-weakened /ay/ items (e.g., "bribe" produced as "brahb") as words or non-words. I find higher word-endorsement rates for glide-weakened /ay/ words for participants who have recently heard a Southern-accented (compared to Midland-accented) talker, even if the Southern talker never produces the /ay/ vowel. Individual perception and production responses toward glide-weakened /ay/ show little evidence for strong individual perception-production links, though findings are consistent with an interpretation where perceptual shifts are a necessary (but not sufficient) precursor to production shifts. Finally, Experiment 3 uses a dialect-label manipulation version of the Word Naming Game and demonstrates that both top-down information about social categories and bottom-up acoustic cues independently contribute to expectation-driven shifts in production and perception. Further, reliance on these cues differs across dialect backgrounds, providing insights into the way sociolinguistic associations are formed and mentally represented. Taken together, results support a model of cognition in which social and linguistic information are tightly linked.
... For instance, in a partial replication of Niedzielski (1999), Hay et al. (2006a) found that participants who were told that they were listening to a New Zealander were still influenced by the words "Australia" or "New Zealand" printed at the top of their answer sheet, in that they were more likely to hear a fronter /I/ vowel in the Australia condition, reflecting the realization of this vowel in Australian English. Hay and Drager (2010) have suggested that even subtler nonconscious activation of regional groups can influence speech perception as well. For each experimental condition, a stuffed animal representative of either Australia (kangaroo and koala) or New Zealand (kiwi) was placed somewhere in the room, though the participant's attention was not drawn to it. ...
... In the "Label-Triggered" Condition, participants hear a Midland-accented talker but are told the talker is from the South and has a Southern accent; in this case, only top-down information would provide cues to activate glide-weakened /aI/. Based on previous literature suggesting that both top-down (Niedzielski, 1999;Koops et al., 2008;Hay and Drager, 2010) and bottom-up (Theodore and Miller, 2010) information triggers expectations, I predict that both types of cues can elicit glide-weakened /aI/, though the effect may be somewhat weaker due to the conflicting information provided by the two different sources of information. ...
... Hay et al. (2006a) found that participants who all heard the same New Zealand talker judged the talker's /I/ vowels as fronter (i.e., more Australian-like) when the word "Australia" was printed at the top of their answer sheet-regardless of being told they were listening to a New Zealander. Similarly, Hay and Drager (2010) found that, participants being in a room with stuffed toys representing different dialect groups (a kangaroo or koala for Australia or a kiwi for New Zealand) resulted in similar shifts in vowel categorization. Both studies have considered these findings support for exemplar-theoretic models of speech, in which social concepts activate associated linguistic forms that then influence production. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The dissertation examines the relationship between social and linguistic knowledge using a series of experiments eliciting linguistic convergence to Southern speech. I draw a terminological and theoretical distinction between previously observed input-driven convergence, in which speakers converge toward a linguistic form directly observed in the input, and expectation-driven convergence, in which speakers converge toward a linguistic form they only expect but do not observe in the immediate input. Using a novel Word Naming Game paradigm designed to elicit convergence toward expected rather than observed linguistic behavior, Experiment 1 finds experimental evidence for expectation-driven convergence, which had previously only been anecdotally observed; participants converge toward glide-weakened /ay/, a salient feature of Southern English, which they may expect but never directly observe from a Southern-accented model talker. The existence of expectation-driven convergence suggests that accounts of convergence relying on tight perception-production links where production is derived directly and automatically from the input cannot straightforwardly explain all instances of convergence. Experiment 2 investigates the perceptual underpinnings of input- and expectation-driven convergence using an auditory lexical decision task in which participants judge glide-weakened /ay/ items (e.g., bribe produced as brahb) as words or non-words. I find higher word-endorsement rates for glide-weakened /ay/ words for participants who have recently heard a Southern-accented (compared to Midland-accented) talker, even if the Southern talker never produces the /aI/vowel. Individual perception and production responses toward glide-weakened /ay/ show little evidence for strong individual perception-production links, though findings are consistent with an interpretation where perceptual shifts are a necessary (but not sufficient) precursor to production shifts. Finally, Experiment 3 uses a dialect-label manipulation version of the Word Naming Game and demonstrates that both top-down information about social categories and bottom- up acoustic cues independently contribute to expectation-driven shifts in production and perception. Further, reliance on these cues differs across dialect backgrounds, providing insights into the way sociolinguistic associations are formed and mentally represented. Taken together, findings support a model of cognition in which social and linguistic information are tightly linked.
... Social priming in perception occurs when differences in contextual cues to social indices influence the perceptual behavior of listeners, such as when a difference in cues to gender [5], region [6,7,8], or age [9] cause a shift in the categorization boundary between neighboring phonemes or in the subjective perception of vowel quality. These effects can be found in cases of sociolectal contact, where a given population has experience with at least two different sociolectal patterns, each of which is associated with a readily identifiable social index. ...
... As an example, New Zealand English (NZE) speakers have substantial experience with Australian English (AusE), which differs from NZE in terms of the phonetic realization of vowel phonemes. As [8] showed, the presence of contextual cues to "Australia" in the laboratory caused listeners to perceive the quality of vowels as slightly more AusE-like as compared to when cues to "New Zealand" were present. While such effects are readily predicted and accounted for by exemplar theoretic models [10,11], at least two recent studies call into question whether they generalize to all contexts involving contact between sociolectal groups. ...
... First, using a design similar to [6,7], [3] tested whether regional labels to Northern England (Sheffield) versus southern England (London) would influence the subjective perception of vowel quality by Southern Standard British English (SSBE) listeners, and found no effect. Second, [4], using a design similar to [8], tested whether AusE listeners exhibit the same sensitivity to regional cues as NZE listeners, and also found no effect. The authors suggest that this result is surprising; since Australians are generally familiar with NZE, the social priming effect should be reciprocal. ...
... The purpose of such research is to test whether the speech perception of a speaker is confined to "phonetic processing of the speech signal" or whether it extends to using other peripheral and metalinguistic factors to identify the regional variety or the language of the speaker (Niedzielski, 1999, p. 63). The metalinguistic factors can be social information (Hay & Drager, 2010;Hay, Nolan, & Drager, 2006;Niedzielski, 1999), dialect background information (Willis, 1972) and prior exposure to certain phonemes in a language (Hay et al., 2018). Niedzielski (1999) tested the extent to which social information might affect participants' perceptions in a voice placement task. ...
... The two previous studies used similar techniques, involving manipulating speakers' labels. Hay and Drager (2010) used yet another trigger, which is bringing objects in the location of the experiment to test weather objects in the room have effects on participants' perceptions of the speech sample provided. In other words, Hay and Drager (2010, p. 870) "tested explicitly the degree to which orienting an individual toward a region could influence perception". ...
... 865). The manipulation that Hay and Drager (2010) applied was in relation to participants' exposure to the research setting; this was done by manipulating objects in the room in which participants were tested. Two groups of participants were given the same experiment but under different conditions. ...
... Can priming with regionally-associated images affect speech perception? Previous work suggests that it can [1]. New Zealanders primed with kangaroos appeared to shift their vowel perception to be more Australian-like. ...
... In Hay & Drager (2010) [1], we, therefore, tested this possibility explicitly through employing the same task as Hay, Nolan & Drager (2006) [10] but exposed participants to incidental social primes associated with the two regions. To achieve incidental priming, the experimenter pulled out from a cabinet one of two sets of stuffed animal toys prior to beginning the experiment, pretending like she did not know why they were there and setting them aside but within view of the participant. ...
... In Hay & Drager (2010) [1], we, therefore, tested this possibility explicitly through employing the same task as Hay, Nolan & Drager (2006) [10] but exposed participants to incidental social primes associated with the two regions. To achieve incidental priming, the experimenter pulled out from a cabinet one of two sets of stuffed animal toys prior to beginning the experiment, pretending like she did not know why they were there and setting them aside but within view of the participant. ...
Article
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We investigate whether regionally-associated primes can affect speech perception in two lexical decision tasks in which New Zealand listeners were exposed to an Australian prime (a kangaroo), a New Zealand prime (a kiwi), and/or a control animal (a horse). The target stimuli involve ambiguous vowels, embedded in a frame that would result in a real word with a KIT or a DRESS vowel and a nonsense word with the alternative vowel; thus, lexical decision responses can reveal which vowel was heard. Our pre-registered design predicted that exposure to the kangaroo would elicit more KIT-consistent responses than exposure to the kiwi. Both experiments showed significant priming effects in which the kangaroo elicited more KIT-consistent responses than the kiwi. The particular locus and details of these effects differed across experiments and participants. Taken together, the experiments reinforce the finding that regionally-associated primes can affect speech perception, but also suggest that the effects are sensitive to experimental design, stimulus acoustics, and individuals’ production and past experience.
... In an intriguing study including only native speakers of English, Chinese Canadian speakers were rated as more accented when a photo of their face was presented (Babel & Russell, 2015). Furthermore, visual information does not need to include the faces of the speakers to influence speech perception (Hay & Drager, 2010). Hay and Drager (2010) reported that when speakers of New Zealand English were exposed to stuffed toy kangaroos (associated with Australia) or stuffed toy kiwis (associated with New Zealand) they perceived the vowels differently, more closely aligned with the accent associated to the stuffed toy they had seen. ...
... Furthermore, visual information does not need to include the faces of the speakers to influence speech perception (Hay & Drager, 2010). Hay and Drager (2010) reported that when speakers of New Zealand English were exposed to stuffed toy kangaroos (associated with Australia) or stuffed toy kiwis (associated with New Zealand) they perceived the vowels differently, more closely aligned with the accent associated to the stuffed toy they had seen. ...
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The Bluegrass corpus includes sentences from 40 pairs of speakers. Participants from the Bluegrass Region rated one speaker from each pair as having a native North American English accent and the other as having a foreign accent (Experiment 1). Furthermore, speakers within each pair looked very similar in appearance, in that participants rated them similarly likely to speak with a foreign accent (Experiment 2). For each speaker we selected eight sentences based on participants’ ratings of difficulty (Experiment 3). The final corpus includes a selection of 640 sentences (80 speakers, 8 stimuli per speaker) freely available through the Open Science Framework. Each sentence can be downloaded in different formats (text, audio, video) so researchers can investigate how audio-visual information influences language processing. Researchers can contribute to the corpus by validating the stimuli with new populations, selecting additional sentences, or finding new TED videos featuring appropriate speakers to answer their research questions.
... In experiment 3, we see that when the same genderambiguous voice was presented to two groups of listeners under the guise of different gendered names, the tone boundary does not show a significant shift. The absence of a name gender effect seems to be at odds with previous findings that perceptual shift can be triggered by multidimensional social cues (e.g., Hay and Drager, 2010;Hay et al., 2006;Johnson et al., 1999;Strand and Johnson, 1996). ...
... The third question, investigated mainly in experiment 3, is whether the gender tone normalization can be triggered by cues in modalities other than auditory, as attested by plentiful research on socially based perception adjustment (Hay and Drager, 2010;Hay et al., 2006;Strand and Johnson, 1996, etc.). In experiment 3, gendered names are used to establish different speaker gender expectations for the same gender-ambiguous voice. ...
Article
This paper presents three experiments on the integration of speaker gender cues in Cantonese tone perception. Experiment 1 compared tone identification of F0-matched stimuli between different gender voices and showed that listeners tended to hear lower tones for stimuli with female-sounding voices and higher tones for stimuli with male-sounding voices. Experiment 2 investigated whether a similar voice gender normalization effect would occur in pitch perception. The results showed that unlike tone categorization shifting with voice gender systematically, voice gender interfered with pitch perception in listener-specific ways. In particular, musicians who were not affected by voice gender in pitch perception still showed a tone boundary shift induced by voice gender. Experiment 3 evaluated the influence of non-voice gender cues on tone identification with the guises of gendered names. The result shows that gendered names barely induced any shift on their own as guises of an identical set of gender-ambiguous stimuli; however, gendered names enhanced the shift when patterned with gender-prototypical voices of their gender. These findings support an additional phonological normalization process on top of psychoacoustic sensation. They also suggest that speaker normalization involves fine-grained processing of rich social cues conveyed by acoustic signals rather than merely abstract social labels.
... During speech perception, all facets of the input are compared against this database of previously-experienced exemplars that have all been grouped into categories ('exemplar clouds') to find those exemplars most similar to it. The stored tokens that most closely resemble the input are subsequently activated (Foulkes & Docherty, 2006;Hay & Drager, 2010;Rácz, 2013). Because no two individuals will have the exact same set of experiences to generalize from, each person's cognitive representation of language will thus be slightly different (Foulkes & Hay, 2015). ...
... The task thus relied heavily on listeners' memory, which leaves open the question of whether it was truly perception that had been affected, or perhaps their memory (Cutler & Norris, 2016). Other, similar vowel-matching studies making use of labeling (e.g., Hay & Drager, 2010;Hay, Nolan, et al., 2006;Hay, Warren, et al., 2006;McGowan & Babel, 2019) have also claimed to provide evidence that "social information can alter and override listeners' use of This brings us to the second pitfall. Firestone and Scholl (2016) caution that any perceptual study should "disentangle post-perceptual judgment from actual online perception" (p. ...
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In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the bidirectional relationship between speech and social processes, as increased attention is given to how speakers’ physical appearance, in combination with their accent, can influence the perception of their spoken language. Two competing theoretical frameworks have been proposed to explain conflicting findings in the existing literature: supporters of the reverse linguistic stereotyping hypothesis argue that listeners’ inherent racial biases against certain groups and their speakers negatively influence their speech evaluations (e.g., Rubin, 1992; Yi, Phelps, Smiljanic, & Chandrasekaran, 2013), while proponents of exemplar-based models of perception maintain that such negative judgments reflect the cognitive consequences of incongruous face–accent pairings (e.g. Babel & Russell, 2015; McGowan, 2015). Using this debate as a point of departure, this cross-cultural and cross-linguistic investigation was designed to determine whether reported effects of speaker ethnicity also extend to online processing speeds. Two response time studies (one using photographs and one using dubbed videos of Asian and White speakers of English) were conducted in Canada, while a third study using dubbed videos of Moroccan and White speakers of Dutch was conducted in the Netherlands. Additional offline dependent measures included sentence verification scores, accentedness ratings, transcription accuracy, and credibility scores. Results from the three experiments showed (1) a processing cost associated with foreign-accented and non-standard speech, but (2) no effect of ethnicity on processing speeds or on the other dependent measures. These outcomes do not support the predictions of either theoretical framework, given that both presuppose an effect of speaker ethnicity on speech evaluation. The fact that the observed null findings are consistent with some previous studies highlights the potential influence of methodological choices underlying the seemingly contradictory findings in the literature. In view of this possibility, the findings are discussed in relation to the distinction between perception and interpretation. Further research will be needed to determine the true nature and magnitude of the effect of visually-based social information on speech processing and evaluation. Keywords: audio-visual speech processing; ethnicity; accents; speech evaluation; sociophonetics, racial bias
... The degree of convergence has been found to be used to decrease or increase social distance (Giles, 1973;Giles et al., 1973;Bourhis and Giles, 1977). A speaker's perceived femininity or masculinity plays a role in perception (Johnson et al., 1999) as does a hearer's age (Jannedy and Weirich, 2014) or where the hearer believes the speaker is from Niedzielski (1999), Hay and Drager (2010), Jannedy and Weirich (2014). ...
... Work on language stereotypes, attitudes (Johnson et al., 1999;Niedzielski, 1999;Hay and Drager, 2010;Jannedy and Weirich, 2014), and person perception (Scherer, 1972;Schirmer, 2019) has shown that it is possible to put speakers in mind-sets in which to perceive speech. We will exploit this finding for our study, too by making listeners believe that a voice they hear either belongs to a French speaker learning German or a German speaker of Turkish decent, both groups for which stereotypes exist in dominant German language ideology (Plewnia and Rothe, 2009;Jannedy and Weirich, 2014;Jannedy et al., 2019). ...
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In Berlin, the pronunciation of /ç/ as [ɕ] is associated with the multi-ethnic youth variety (Kiezdeutsch). This alternation is also known to be produced by French learners of German. While listeners form socio-cultural interpretations upon hearing language input, the associations differ depending on the listeners' biases and stereotypes toward speakers or groups. Here, the contrast of interest concerns two speaker groups using the [ç]-[ɕ] alternation: multi-ethnic adolescents from Berlin neighborhoods carrying low social prestige in mainstream German society and French learners of German supposedly having higher cultural prestige. To understand the strength of associations between phonetic alternations and social attributes, we ran an Implicit Association Task with 131 participants (three groups varying in age and ethnic background (mono-vs. multi-ethnic German) using auditory and written stimuli. In experiment 1, participants categorized written words as having a positive (good) or negative (bad) valence and auditory stimuli containing pronunciation variations of /ç/ as canonical [ç] (labeled Hochdeutsch [a term used in Germany for Standard German]) or non-canonical [ɕ] (labeled Kiezdeutsch). In experiment 2, identical auditory stimuli were used but the label Kiezdeutsch was changed to French Accent. Results show faster reaction times when negative categories and non-canonical pronunciations or positive categories and canonical pronunciations were mapped to the same response key, indicating a tight association between value judgments and concept categories. Older German listeners (OMO) match a supposed Kiezdeutsch accent more readily with negatively connotated words compared to a supposed French accent, while younger German listeners (YMO) seem to be indifferent toward this variation. Young multi-ethnic listeners (YMU), however, seem to associate negative concepts more strongly with a supposed French accent compared to Kiezdeutsch. These results demonstrate how social and cultural contextualization influences language interpretation and evaluation. We interpret our findings as a loss of cultural prestige of French speakers for the YMO group compared to the OMO group: younger urban listeners do not react differently to these contextual primes. YMU listeners, however, show a positive bias toward their in-group. Our results point to implicit listener attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes and shared world knowledge as significant factors in culturally-and socially situated language processing.
... Soukup (2013) finds that the OGT yielded larger effects than the MGT on 'superiority' scales (Zahn & Hopper, 1985), while the MGT yielded larger effects on 'social attractiveness' scales. However, her comparison did not address socio-indexical traits like ethnicity that fall outside the superiority-versussocial-attractiveness rubric, but which nevertheless form an important part of listeners' awareness of language variation (e.g., Hay & Drager, 2010;Koops, Gentry, & Pantos, 2008;Niedzielski, 1999). Although it is impossible to determine how the results of this study would compare to a hypothetical companion MGT (as the MGT simply wouldn't work with such a recognizable stimulus speaker)-and the small effect size we found suggests that a hypothetical companion MGT could yield larger effects-the present study indicates that a socio-indexical trait, ethnicity, can also work in an OGT context. ...
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The current study examines how listeners make gradient and variable ethnolinguistic judgments in an experimental context where the speaker identity is well-known. It features an open-guise experiment (Soukup, 2013), which assessed whether sociolinguistic judgments are subject to incrementality, with judgments increasing in magnitude as variable stimuli demonstrate more extreme differences. In particular, this task tested whether judgments of Barack Obama as sounding ’more’ or ‘less’ black (e.g., Alim & Smitherman, 2012) are sensitive to differences in intonation. Half of stimuli featured an L+H* pitch accent, which occurs more frequently in African American Language than in Mainstream U.S. English (Holliday, 2016). Four stimuli apiece were created from these phrases by making each pitch accent more extreme by semitone-based F0 steps. Seventy-nine listeners rated these stimuli via the question, “How black does Obama sound here?” Mixed-effects modeling indicated that listeners rated more phonetically extreme L+H* stimuli as sounding blacker, regardless of listener identity. A post-hoc analysis found that listeners attended to different voice quality features in L+H* stimuli. We discuss implications for research in intonation, ethnic identification, incrementality, language attitudes, and sociolinguistic awareness.
... This proposal would be grounded in the notion of a 'supramodal' architecture of multisensory speech comprehension (as advocated by Rosenblum, 2019;Rosenblum et al., 2017), proposing that the speech processing system acts to extract supramodal informational patterns that are common in form across sensory streams. Support for such a supramodal architecture comes from observations that viewing a silent video of an articulating face can induce activity in auditory brain areas in novice lipreaders (Calvert et al., 1997); experience with silently lipreading a talker allows individuals to subsequently better comprehend that talker's audio-only speech (Rosenblum et al., 2007); imagined visual gender information influences vowel category boundaries (Johnson et al., 1999); and non-articulatory visual information can change vowel perception (Hay & Drager, 2010). ...
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Spoken words are highly variable and therefore listeners interpret speech sounds relative to the surrounding acoustic context, such as the speech rate of a preceding sentence. For instance, a vowel midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/ in Dutch is perceived as short /ɑ/ in the context of preceding slow speech, but as long /a:/ if preceded by a fast context. Despite the well-established influence of visual articulatory cues on speech comprehension, it remains unclear whether visual cues to speech rate also influence subsequent spoken word recognition. In two 'Go Fish'-like experiments, participants were presented with audio-only (auditory speech + fixation cross), visual-only (mute videos of talking head), and audiovisual (speech + videos) context sentences, followed by ambiguous target words containing vowels midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/. In Experiment 1, target words were always presented auditorily, without visual articulatory cues. Although the audio-only and audiovisual contexts induced a rate effect (i.e., more long /a:/ responses after fast contexts), the visual-only condition did not. When, in Experiment 2, target words were presented audiovisually, rate effects were observed in all three conditions, including visual-only. This suggests that visual cues to speech rate in a context sentence influence the perception of following visual target cues (e.g., duration of lip aperture), which at an audiovisual integration stage bias participants' target categorization responses. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how what we see influences what we hear.
... On the one hand, a body of experimental work exists on the role of the context in category learning in general, especially in visual processing (see, e.g., Borji & Itti, 2013). On the other hand, researchers have discovered a lot about the ways in which context is indexed in linguistic conventions and how this contributes to language variation and change (see, e.g., Bucholtz, 1999;Gudmestad, 2012;Hay & Drager, 2010;Niedzielski, 1999). ...
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In this study, we investigated the learning of indexical features by English‐speaking adults using a novel experimental paradigm. In a conceptual replication of Rácz, Hay, and Pierrehumbert (2017), participants learned an allomorphy pattern cued by a given social context. The social contexts were represented by conversation partners who differed by age, ethnicity, and/or gender and were positioned in various ways. The results showed that, after training, the participants were able to learn that different types of conversation partners prefer different types of allomorphs but that learning and generalization hinged on the social relevance of the cue represented by the conversation partner. These results suggest that the relevance of cues in an individual's past social experience influences their storage and learnability even at very early stages of learning a word pattern.
... Le fait qu'une telle signification soit activée dans un champ de potentialités -ou champ indexical, dans les termes d' Eckert (2008) -est dû à des indices contextuels, qui peuvent être autant verbaux que non-verbaux. Ces dernierscomme une photo (Rubin, 1992), une mention écrite d'appartenance nationale (Niedzielski, 1999), un jouet (Hay et Drager, 2010) ou un nom propre (Prikhodkine et Correia Saavedra, 2016) -fournissent aux auditeurs une information sociale sur le locuteur et le style associé. ...
... In other words, the same sound was categorized differently depending on the social information provided about the talker: the Detroit participants reported awareness that vowel raising is a Canadian, not a Michigan, feature and this guided their lowlevel perceptual categorization of the same stimuli. Other types of explicit social information elicit this top-down influence on speech perception, such as photographs depicting speakers of various ages (Hay, Warren, & Drager, 2006) and stuffed animal toys referencing dialect regions (Hay & Drager, 2010). ...
Conference Paper
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The current study explores whether the top-down influence of speaker age guise influences patterns of compensation for coarticulation. /u/-fronting variation in California is linked to both phonetic and social factors: /u/ in alveolar contexts is fronter than in bilabial contexts and /u/-fronting is more advanced in younger speakers. We investigate whether the apparent age of the speaker, via a guise depicting a 21-year-old woman or a 55-year-old woman, influences whether listeners compensate for coarticulation on /u/. Listeners performed a paired discrimination task of /u/ with a raised F2 (fronted) in an alveolar consonant context (/sut/), compared to non-fronted /u/ in a non-coronal context. Overall, discrimination was more veridical for the younger guise, than for the older guise, leading to the perception of more inherently fronted variants for the younger talker. Results indicate that apparent talker age may influence perception of /u/-fronting, but not only in coarticulatory contexts.
... e.g. Langstrof 2009;Hay and Drager 2010;Jansen 2017). Already in the 1970s linguists conducted Labovian style analyses of second language speech (L. ...
... Beyond probing listener knowledge, however, is the additional question of how presenting explicit information about talkers as part of the experimental design would impact adaptation. In speech perception research, modifying listener expectations about talker characteristics such as dialect, even in subtle ways, can have important consequences for speech perception (e.g., Hay & Drager, 2010). Even manipulating the number of speakers that listeners expect to hear can affect processing of the same linguistic input (Magnuson & Nusbaum, 2007). ...
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Successfully grappling with widespread linguistic variation requires listeners to adapt to systematic variation in the environment while discarding incidental variation, based on listeners’ prior experience. We examine the role of prior experience in phonotactic learning. Talkers who differ in their language background are more likely to vary in their phonotactic grammars than talkers who share a language variety. This predicts stronger adaptation to novel phonotactics when listeners are exposed to multiple talkers from different versus shared language backgrounds. We tested this by exposing listeners to two talkers, each of whom exhibited a different phonotactic constraint, in a recognition memory task. In Experiment 1, English listeners exposed to talkers differing in language background (English versus French) showed a greater degree of adaptation relative to cases where the talkers shared a language background (English or French). Experiment 2 found similar results when English listeners were exposed to talkers from different, non-native language backgrounds (Hindi versus Hungarian), suggesting that listeners make fine-grained distinctions between different non-native language phonotactics. These results suggest that phonotactic adaptation is flexible, but constrained by the fine-grained causal inferences listeners draw from their prior experience.
... While Grammer and Eibl-Eibsfeldt (1990) sample was German, McFarland et al.'s (2013) conducted their study with American participants. A discrepancy in the results is also very likely to arise from the difference in the methods of the data collection employed by the two studies, given that specifics of the interactional context and the surrounding environment can affect linguistic behavior (e.g., Hay and Drager, 2010;Hay et al., 2017). While Grammer (1990) did not inform the study participants that a potential romantic interest arising during their interaction was the purpose of the experiment, McFarland et al.'s (2013) set out to collect their data in an explicit speed dating setting. ...
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Laughter is a ubiquitous vocal behavior and plays an important role in social bonding, though little is known if it can also communicate romantic attraction. The present study addresses this question by investigating spontaneous laughter produced during a 5-min conversation in a heterosexual speed-dating experiment. Building on the posits of Accommodation Theory, romantic attraction was hypothesized to coincide with a larger number of shared laughs as a form of convergence in vocal behavior that reduces the perceived distance between the daters. Moreover, high-attraction dates were expected to converge toward the same laughter type. The results of the experiment demonstrate that (a) laughs are particularly frequent in the first minute of the conversation, (b) daters who are mutually attracted show a significantly larger degree of temporal overlap in laughs, (c) specific laughter types (classified as a nasal “laugh-snort”) prevail in high-attraction dates, though shared laughs are not consistently of the same type. Based on this exploratory analysis (limited to cisgender, heterosexual couples), we conclude that laughter is a frequent phenomenon in speed dating and gives some indication of a mutual romantic attraction.
... Besides the semantic and syntactic information in the language input itself, additional information can be provided by gesture (Holle & Gunter, 2007) or prosody (Hellbernd & Sammler, 2018), but also by contextual factors, like setting (Hay & Drager, 2010) or speaker identity (Brown-Schmidt, Yoon, & Ryskin, 2015;Lattner & Friederici, 2003;Van Berkum, 2008). With all this information available to the listener, the question arises how such information can be used to constrain language processing. ...
Article
Listeners are sensitive to a speaker’s individual language use and generate expectations for particular speakers. It is unclear, however, how such expectations affect online language processing. In the present EEG study, we presented thirty-two participants with auditory sentence stimuli of two speakers. Speakers differed in their use of two particular syntactic structures, easy subject-initial SOV structures and more difficult object-initial OSV structures. One speaker, the SOV-Speaker, had a high proportion of SOV sentences (75%) and a low proportion of OSV sentences (25%), and vice-versa for the OSV-Speaker. Participants were exposed to the speakers’ individual language use in a training session followed by a test session on the consecutive day. ERP-results show that early stages of sentence processing are driven by syntactic processing only and are unaffected by speaker-specific expectations. In a late stage, however, an interaction between speaker and syntax information was observed. For the SOV-Speaker condition, the classical P600-effect reflected the effort of processing difficult and unexpected sentence structures. For the OSV-Speaker condition, both structures elicited different responses on frontal electrodes, possibly indexing effort to switch from a local speaker model to a global model of language use. Overall, the study identifies distinct neural mechanisms related to speaker-specific expectations.
... This model considers an individual's adoption of ambient change (as in sociolinguistic migration and in sound change) to be a long-term extension of the well-known process of phonetic accommodation (Giles, Coupland, & Coupland 1991, Giles & Smith 1979, Giles, Taylor, & Bourhis 1973, Maye, Aslin, & Tanenhaus 2008, Norris, McQueen, & Cutler 2003). Under this model, the effects of linguistic priming in SDA (Walker 2014) and sound change (Pinget, Kager, & Van de Velde 2019)and perhaps also non-linguistic priming of the type in Hay & Drager (2010), although cf. Walker, Szakay, & Cox (2019)-are readily accommodated. ...
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This dissertation investigates how sound change is adopted by speakers and listeners, based on a currently-ongoing cluster of changes in Dutch termed the ‘Polder shift’. The main aim of the dissertation is to form a bridge between five key areas of linguistics: historical phonology, sociophonetics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and quantitative linguistics. A unified account of these different angles to the study of sound change is not trivial. This dissertation uses psycholinguistic experiments combined with detailed quantitative analysis to study the contributions of the different components to the adoption of sound change in the medium and long term. The population studied in this dissertation is sociolinguistic migrants: in this case, Flemish speakers of Dutch who have migrated to the Netherlands, and thereby migrated from a non-Polder-shift area to a Polder-shift area. The methods adopted in this dissertation include a corpus study of regional variation, longitudinal psycholinguistic experiments over nine months’ time, cross-sectional psycholinguistic experiments spanning multiple decades of apparent time, and two neurolinguistic studies using EEG. Results show that the sociolinguistic migrants rapidly acquire allophonic variation at the phonological level (albeit not necessarily the associated sociolinguistic knowledge), but that it takes a long time (more than nine months, up to multiple decades) for this to carry forward to their behavioral production and perception, and moreover is subject to significant individual differences. The contributions by this dissertation show how the fundamentally sociolinguistic phenomenon of sound change can be studied empirically using psycho- and neurolinguistics, and profit from recent innovations in statistics.
... For example, they use their knowledge of how a particular speaker with a novel accent would pronounce a particular word to rule out or include phonological cohort competitors (Trude & Brown-Schmidt, 2012). Relatedly, speech perception can be influenced by a speaker's social background, including their expected dialect area (Niedzielski, 1999), where cues to a particular accent or region can influence the perception of phonemes (Hay et al., 2006;Hay & Drager, 2010). ...
Article
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Addressees use information from specific speakers’ previous discourse to make predictions about incoming linguistic material and to restrict the choice of potential interpretations. In this way, speaker specificity has been shown to be an influential factor in language processing across several domains e.g., spoken word recognition, sentence processing, and pragmatics. However, its influence on semantic disambiguation has received little attention to date. Using an exposure-test design and visual world eye tracking, we examined the effect of speaker-specific literal vs. nonliteral style on the disambiguation of metaphorical polysemes such as ‘fork’, ‘head’, and ‘mouse’. Eye movement data revealed that when interpreting polysemous words with a literal and a nonliteral meaning, addressees showed a late-stage preference for the literal meaning in response to a nonliteral speaker. We interpret this as reflecting an indeterminacy in the intended meaning in this condition, as well as the influence of meaning dominance cues at later stages of processing. Response data revealed that addressees then ultimately resolved to the literal target in 90% of trials. These results suggest that addressees consider a range of senses in the earlier stages of processing, and that speaker style is a contextual determinant in semantic processing.
... We see this direction of investigation important not only for experimental semantics and pragmatics, but also for the broader question of how social meaning affects language process across different levels of the grammar -a question that work on phonetic (Niedzielski 1999;Staum Casasanto 2008;Hay 2009;D'Onofrio 2015D'Onofrio , 2018D'Onofrio 2020;Wade 2022) and, to a lesser extent, syntactic processing (Campbell-Kibler 2010; Weatherholtz, Campbell-Kibler & Jaeger 2014; Squires 2013; Choe, Sloggett, Yoshida & D'Onofrio 2019) has begun to address, but still remains largely uncharted. ...
Article
Recent work at the interface of semantics and sociolinguistics showed that listeners reason about the semantic/pragmatic properties of linguistic utterances to draw social inferences about the speaker (Acton and Potts 2014; Beltrama 2018; Jeong 2021). These findings raise the question of whether reverse effects exist as well, i.e., whether (and how) social meanings can also impact the interpretation of semantic/pragmatic meanings. Using (im)precision as a case study, we provide experimental evidence that (i) numerals receive stricter interpretations when utteredbyNerdy(vs. Chill) speakers; and that (ii) this effect is stronger for comprehenders who don’t (strongly) identify with the speaker, suggesting that pragmatic reasoning is crucially shaped by social information about both the speaker and the comprehender. These findings suggest that different layers of meanings inform one another in a bi-directional fashion – i.e., semantic information can invite social inferences, and Misocial information can guide meaning interpretation.
... Much previous work has shown that non-linguistic information conditions listener performance on different speech perception tasks (Rubin 1992, Niedzielski 1999Hay et al. 2006, Hay & Drager 2010, Mack & Munson 2012. One specific line of work in this area suggests that visual cues to the social categorization of the speaker affect comprehension and/or evaluation of a speaker's production (Rubin 1992, Strand 1999, 2000, Staum 2008, Koops 2011, Babel and Russell 2015, D'Onofrio 2015, 2020, McGowan 2015, Ortiz 2018. ...
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This paper reports on an experiment designed to measure how listeners’ perceptions of speaker age and ethnicity condition identification of lexical items with THOUGHT/LOT vowels in New York City English (NYCE). Several independent studies have recently reported evidence of THOUGHT-lowering and/or LOT/THOUGHT merging in NYCE led by younger non-White speakers. Spoken corpus data by Wong (2012), Becker (2010) and Haddican et al. (2021) suggest rapid THOUGHT lowering, particularly in Asian and Latinx communities. Similarly, younger Asian and Latinx NYCE speakers favor merged LOT/THOUGHT responses in controlled homophony judgment tasks (Johnson 2010, Haddican et al. 2016). Moreover, matched-guise results by Becker (2014) suggest that raised THOUGHT is associated mainly with older White speakers. Unaddressed in this literature is whether listeners use perceived social information about the speaker--i.e. perceptions of age and ethnicity--in their phonemic categorization of low back vowels in comprehension of NYCE (Rubin 1992, Hay, Warren and Drager 2006, Koops 2011). Here, we report results from a forced-choice lexical identification experiment intended to investigate this. Consistent with previous production and matched guise results, judges tended to misidentify LOT auditory stimulus items as THOUGHT more often when the item was accompanied by a photo of an Asian speaker than a White speaker. The analysis revealed no effect for the age comparison. The results suggest that NYCE-native listeners actively use social information about speaker ethnicity in the categorization of LOT/THOUGHT items in comprehension.
... Female assistants were speakers of major Saudi dialects, including the Najdi, Hijazi, southern, and eastern dialects. Each assistant was assigned to collect surveys from respondents speaking her dialect in order to minimize the potential effect of the interviewer's identity on the results of speech perceptions (Hay and Drager 2010). All female assistants had been trained by the author in the procedures of data collection. ...
Article
This article provides a perceptual dialectology account of linguistic diversity in Saudi Arabia. Using the map-drawing and labeling task, the study examined the perceptions and ideologies of 674 speakers of Saudi Arabic dialects about the perceived boundaries of regional dialect varieties, as well as their social evaluation of and beliefs about the dialects. The analysis of the results as displayed in composite maps using a Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping program revealed that respondents identified five major dialect areas as having the most distinct features: the Najdi, Hijazi, southern, eastern, and northern regions. Ten categories of respondents’ labels emerged out of the qualitative analysis: style , influence , Bedouin/urban , fast , open/closed , vowel lengthening , unique vocabulary , alternation of /k/ and /g/ , attraction , and social media . The present findings show the salience of certain linguistic and social features that respondents associate with certain dialect areas. Such perceptions can ultimately guide and enhance future descriptions and analyses of actual linguistic variation in Saudi Arabia.
Article
Neel [(2004). Acoust. Res. Lett. Online 5, 125–131] asked how much time-varying formant detail is needed for vowel identification. In that study, multiple stimuli were synthesized for each vowel: 1-point (monophthongal with midpoint frequencies), 2-point (linear from onset to offset), 3-point, 5-point, and 11-point. Results suggested that a 3-point model was optimal. This conflicted with the dual-target hypothesis of vowel inherent spectral change research, which has found that two targets are sufficient to model vowel identification. The present study replicates and expands upon the work of Neel. Ten English monophthongs were chosen for synthesis. One-, two-, three-, and five-point vowels were created as described above, and another 1-point stimulus was created with onset frequencies rather than midpoint frequencies. Three experiments were administered ( n = 18 for each): vowel identification, goodness rating, and discrimination. The results ultimately align with the dual-target hypothesis, consistent with most vowel inherent spectral change studies.
Article
Phonetic convergence is linguistically and socially selective. The current study examined the constraints on this selectivity in convergence to Southern American English by non-Southern Americans in a word shadowing task. Participants were asked either to repeat the words after the model talker, to repeat the words after the model talker from Louisville, KY, or to imitate the way the model talker from Louisville, KY, said the words, in a between-subject design. Acoustic analysis of the participants' productions revealed significant phonetic convergence on word duration and back vowel fronting, but not on /aɪ/ monophthongization, across all three instruction conditions. These findings suggest social selectivity such that convergence on stereotyped variants is avoided, but convergence to a talker with a non-prestigious variety is not. A perceptual assessment of convergence confirmed the acoustic results, but also revealed significantly more convergence in the explicit imitation condition than in the two repetition conditions. These findings suggest that explicit instructions to imitate lead to greater convergence overall, but do not completely override social selectivity. A comparison of the acoustic and perceptual assessments of convergence indicates that they provide complementary insights into specific features and holistic patterns of convergence, respectively.
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This study investigates how multiple social meanings come to be associated with a linguistic variable. The analyses of listeners’ perceptions of tap and retroflex realizations of coda /r/ in São Paulo Portuguese (as in jornal ‘newspaper’ and bazar ‘bazar’), through an experiment based on the matched-guise technique (LAMBERT et al., 1960; CAMPBELL-KIBLER, 2006, 2009) applied to 185 participants, show that coda /r/ in São Paulo is strongly associated to geographical identities, from which further inferences arise on speakers’ social status regarding their social class, area of residence, level of education, along with personal traits such as being “articulate” and “hardworking.” Interactions between variable /r/ and participants’ social profiles are explored, as well as the fact that certain plausible correlations do not arise, particularly in comparison to previous perception studies. In problematizing the nature of the ideological inter-relations among multiple factual and potential social meanings, an objective and falsifiable computational method for modeling indexical fields is proposed, based on Minimum Spanning Trees (GOWER; ROSS, 1969). Keywords: indexical fields; social meanings of variation; coda /r/; São Paulo Portuguese; matched-guise technique; computational models of language variation. Resumo: Este trabalho investiga de que modo múltiplos significados sociais vêm a se associar a uma variável sociolinguística. As análises de percepções de ouvintes sobre as realizações de /r/ em coda como tepe ou retroflexo no português paulistano (como em jornal e bazar), por meio de um experimento com base na técnica de estímulos pareados (LAMBERT et al., 1960; CAMPBELL-KIBLER, 2006, 2009) aplicado a 185 participantes, mostram que a variável /r/ se associa fortemente a identidades geográficas, a partir das quais surgem inferências sobre o status social dos falantes com relação a sua classe social, região de residência, nível educacional, juntamente a traços pessoais como ser uma pessoa “articulada” ou “trabalhadora”. Exploram-se as interações entre a variável /r/ e os perfis sociais dos participantes, assim como o fato de que certas correlações não se manifestam, particularmente em comparação com outros estudos prévios. Ao problematizar a natureza das inter-relações ideológicas entre múltiplos significados factuais e potenciais, propõe-se um método computacional objetivo e falseável para a modelagem de campos indexicais, com base em Árvores de Distâncias Mínimas (GOWER; ROSS, 1969). Palavras-chave: campos indexicais; significados sociais da variação; /r/ em coda; português paulistano; técnica de estímulos pareados; modelos computacionais da variação linguística.
Article
The current study explores the second language(L2) acquisition of subconsciously held language attitudes. Specifically, we determine whether L2 learners perceive differences between Spanish speakers of four geographic varieties and evaluate them differently, and if these perceptions change with proficiency. Following sociolinguistic methodological practices, we administered a verbal guise task to American English-speaking learners of Spanish from four university enrollment levels. We found that the learners differentially evaluated speakers of these regional varieties across dimensions of solidarity (kindness) and standardness (prestige). We observed development across levels in the evaluation of regional varieties for prestige, while differentiations in kindness ratings remained consistent across levels. We also show that, for our highest-level group, study abroad experience may contribute to patterns of subconscious evaluation. Although one would not expect L2 classroom learners to possess native-like subconscious attitudes, the present study is an essential step in understanding how such attitudes develop in L2 acquisition.
Chapter
English in the German-Speaking World - edited by Raymond Hickey December 2019
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Listeners’ perceptions of sound changes may be influenced by priming them with social information about the speaker. It is not clear, however, whether this occurs for sociolinguistic variables that pass below the level of awareness. This article investigates whether visual speaker gender affects the perception of GOOSE-fronting in Standard Southern British English, a sound change that is led by young women yet does not fulfil criteria for sociolinguistic salience. Participants from across the United Kingdom completed a word identification experiment based on a gender-ambiguous synthesised FLEECE-GOOSE continuum while primed with an image of a man’s or a woman’s face. The study did not find a significant main effect of priming, but men identified fronter tokens as GOOSE when primed with a woman’s face. I argue that sociolinguistic priming effects may be over-stated and that future priming experiments should be designed with maximal statistical power where possible.
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Phonological voicing in obstruents is signaled by numerous acoustic cues, both spectral and temporal. Voicing contrasts have been featurally described as [±voice], [±spread glottis], fortis versus lenis, or a combination of features such as [±spread] and [±slack] vocal folds, depending on the cues utilized in a particular language. Describing obstruent voicing contrasts with only cues or features, to the exclusion of the other, misses larger cross-linguistic patterns. This dissertation proposes cue-based features to capture phonological voicing contrasts. Cue-based features are developed from the results of three experiments examining voicing contrasts in Minnesotan English, Afrikaans, and Dutch. In Minnesotan English, two production tasks show that fully devoiced obstruents (underlyingly voiced but produced with no vocal fold vibration) are significantly different along other phonetic dimensions from both voiced obstruents and underlyingly voiceless obstruents, creating a class that is intermediate between [+voice] and [-voice]. Production and perception tasks in Afrikaans and Dutch examine two plosive voicing phenomena in different demographic groups. In word-final obstruents, both languages neutralize glottal pulsing, but other cues weakly maintain the contrast. In word-initial position, underlyingly voiced plosives are variably devoiced, but differences in the following vowel’s f0 maintain the contrast. The results of these experiments confirm that acoustic cues that are not necessarily linked to the definition of a distinctive feature have a significant role in the realization of phonological contrast. The cue-based feature approach is a two-part model that represents the phonetics/phonology interface. This work builds on the ideas of Kingston and Diehl (1994), Reetz (2000), Purnell et al. (2005b), Boersma (2007, 2008), Kingston et al. (2008), and Lahiri and Reetz (2010), but differs in assumptions about the interface and what contributes to phonological contrast. Cue-based features map individual cues to single features. Each cue has its own weighting, and all cue weights are cumulative within a single feature. The total of all cue weights for a feature must reach a threshold to signal [±feature]. This model recognizes the contribution of acoustic cues while still maintaining one phonological feature label, [voice], and can model phonological change and variation.
Article
This study focuses on speakers who continue to use forms that are recessive in a community, and the phonological and conversational contexts in which recessive forms persist. Use of a local, recessive form is explored across males from four ex-mining communities in Northeast England. Older speakers, who lived in the area when the mines were open, frequently produce the localized variant of the mouth vowel, especially in speech produced during conversation about the locally resonant topic of mining, and, most frequently, in communities closest to the location with which the form is associated. Conversely, speakers born since the loss of mining and with little connection to the industry hardly produce the local form in any community or conversational topic. Exploring conversational topic provides evidence for the connections between shifting social contexts and sound change, specifically that speakers retain otherwise recessive features in speech concerning topics which are locally resonant to them.
Article
The term social meaning identifies the constellation of traits that linguistic forms convey about the social identity of their users—for example, their demographics, personality and ideological orientation. A central topic of research in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, this category of meaning has traditionally escaped the scope of semantics and pragmatics; only in recent years have scholars begun to combine formal, experimental and computational methods to incorporate the investigation of this type of content into the study of meaning in linguistics. This article reviews recent work within this area, focusing on two domain of investigation: endeavors aimed at investigating how semantic and social meanings mutually inform one another; and endeavors directed at capturing both the communication and inference of social meanings with the tools of formal semantics and pragmatics.
Article
Multiple studies demonstrate that social and linguistic information is connected in speech perception such that the priming of a social category will affect listeners’ linguistic behavior. At the same time, the degree to which social information is relied upon during speech perception is less well understood. The current study investigates whether priming of a country affects the perceived degree of foreign accent and whether this effect varies across different social groups. Two groups of bilinguals (one dominant in Russian, another dominant in English) listened to audio recordings of monolingual and bilingual (also either dominant in Russian or English) speakers and rated the degree of their foreign accentedness in English and Russian. The recordings were divided by topic: neutral, Russia-related, and Australia-related. Statistical analysis revealed a significant effect of topic: Russia-related clips were rated as more foreign-accented in English by bilinguals dominant in Russian, and Australia-related clips were rated as less foreign-accented in Russian when produced by bilinguals dominant in English. The variation is explained through listeners’ using social information more when the linguistic information is less reliable.
Thesis
Sociolinguists often assume that media influences language attitudes, but that assumption has not been tested using a methodology that can attribute cause. This dissertation examines implicit and explicit attitudes about American Southern English (ASE) and the influence television has upon them. Adapting methodologies and constructs from sociolinguistics, social psychology, and communications studies, I test listener attitudes before and after exposure to stereotypically unintelligent and counterstereotypically intelligent representations of Southern-accented speakers in scripted fictional television. The first attitudes experiment tests implicit attitudes through an Implicit Association Test (IAT). This experiment also serves to test sociolinguistic use of the IAT with a more holistic accent as opposed to single linguistic features. The second attitudes experiment tests the effect of television exposure on explicit attitudes towards an ASE-accented research assistant (RA). The experiments also investigate the influence of listener knowledge of regional origin of actors (speaker information), listener perception of how closely television represents the world around them (perceived realism), listener exposure to the South, and listener identity. The hypothesis is that those who hear counterstereotypically intelligent Southern characters will rate a Southern-accented research assistant higher in intelligence than those who hear stereotypically unintelligent Southern characters. The same pattern will hold in the auditory-based IAT. Accents in both the implicit and explicit attitudes experiments are viewed holistically, including multiple features rather than focusing on the most salient features. To clarify results related to the speaker information and perceived realism variables, a separate experiment tests how successful listeners are at differentiating natives from performers of regionally accented American English. Results indicate that televised representations of Southern accents affect explicit, but not implicit attitudes. Participants who heard intelligent Southern characters rated an ASE-accented RA higher in competence than those who heard unintelligent Southern characters. Several demographic variables influenced results regardless of the stereotypicality of the speakers that the listener heard in the television clips, including self-identified race and exposure to Southern television. While implicit attitudes were not affected by television in this case, the IAT was successfully adapted for use with a holistic accent rather than a single feature and also captures associations between an L1 regional accent and a specific stereotype of that accent. I discuss these results in regard to language attitudes at large as well as their implications for an indirect language change model, the Associative-Propositional Evaluation (APE) model of attitudes, and cultivation theory. The dissertation argues that scripted television does influence language attitudes, but in more complex ways than a simple cause-and-effect relationship. While television can affect explicit attitudes towards individual speakers, implicit attitude shift is more difficult and may need more time and/or need a direct cause for a shift to occur. Regardless of media influence, language attitudes are affected by identity and demographic features listeners bring into the interaction with speakers.
Article
Two apparently contradictory observations have been made about consonantal voicing in Southern US English: compared to other US varieties, Southern speakers produce more voicing on “voiced” stops, but they also “devoice” word-final /z/ at higher rates. In this paper, regional differences in final /z/ realization within Virginia are investigated. 36 students from Southwest and Northern Virginia were recorded completing tasks designed to elicit /z/-final tokens. Tokens were acoustically analyzed for duration and voicing, and automatically categorized as being [z] or [s] using an HTK forced aligner. At the surface level, the two approaches yield incompatible results: the single acoustic measures suggest Southwest Virginians produce more [z]-like /z/ tokens than Northern Virginians, and the aligner finds that Southern-identifying participants produce the most [s]-like tokens. However, both analyses converge on the importance of following environment: Southwest Virginians are relatively least voiced pre-pausally, and more voiced in other environments. These combined findings confirm previous work showing that Southern “voiced” consonants generally have more voicing than other regional US varieties but also suggest that the dialect may exhibit greater phrase-final fortition. There are also differences within Southwest Virginian speakers based on differences in their rurality, or in their orientation to the South.
Article
This chapter provides an overview of research questions and methods found in sociophonetic work. We begin by providing a historical overview of the field, and then describe commonly used methods alongside the research questions they are used to explore. For those interested in teaching a course on sociophonetics, we describe how we approach teaching the course. Finally, we identify which underused methods we anticipate seeing used more widely in the coming years.
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The spoken accent of children is strongly influenced by those of their peers but how rapidly do they adapt to sound changes in progress? We addressed this issue in an acoustic analysis of child and adult vowels of West Central Bavarian (WCB) that may be subject to an increasing influence by the Standard German (SG) variety. The study was a combination of longitudinal and apparent-time analyses: re-recordings from 20 WCB children in their first, second and third years of primary school at two schools in rural Bavaria were compared with those of 21 WCB adult speakers from the same area. The question was whether the children’s pronunciation diverged from the adults’ pronunciation and increasingly so in their second and third years. Participants produced stressed vowels in isolated mostly trochaic words in which WCB vs. SG differences were expected. Both adult/child and longitudinal changes in the direction of the standard were found in the children’s tendency towards a merger of two open vowels and a collapse of a long/short consonant contrast, neither of which exists in SG. There was some evidence that, unlike the adults, the children were beginning to develop tensity (= tenseness) and rounding contrasts, which occur in SG but not WCB. There were no observed changes to the pattern of opening and closing diphthongs, which differ markedly between the two varieties. The general conclusion is that WCB change is most likely to occur as a consequence of exaggerating phonetic variation that already happens to be in the direction of the standard.
Article
There is a substantial body of literature showing that men and women speak differently and that these differences are endemic to the speech signal. However, the psycholinguistic mechanisms underlying the integration of social category perception and language are still poorly understood. Speaker attributes such as emotional state, age, sex, and race have often been treated in the literature as dissociable, but perceptual systems for social categories demonstrably rely on interdependent cognitive processes. We introduce a diversity science framework for evaluating the existing literature on gender and speech perception, arguing that differences in beliefs about gender may be defined as differences in beliefs about differences. Treating individual, group, and societal level contrasts in ideological patterns as phenomenologically distinctive, we enumerate six ideological arenas which define claims about gender and examine the literature for treatment of these issues. We argue that both participants and investigators predictably show evidence of differences in ideological attitudes toward the normative definition of persons. The influence of social knowledge on linguistic perception therefore occurs in the context of predictable variation in both attention and inattention to people and the distinguishing features which mark them salient as kinds. We link experiences of visibility, invisibility, and hypervisibility with ideological variation regarding the significance of physiological, linguistic, and social features, concluding that gender ideologies are implicated both in linguistic processing and in social judgments of value between groups. We conclude with a summary of the key gaps in the current literature and recommendations for best practices studies that may use in future investigations of socially meaningful variation in speech perception. This article is categorized under: Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain Psychology > Language Linguistics > Language Acquisition Psychology > Perception and Psychophysics A graph compares the spectral mean frequency of two sibilants in American English speaking men and women, demonstrating that there is a range of values which are associated with different segments depending on the talker's gender. The chart illustrates relationships between three approaches to describing gendered speech. An essentialist account of gendered speech, which recruits only physiological distinctions cannot explain how perceptual ambiguity is resolved. Nor can a social constructionist account, which additionally recruits language‐specific and socially meaningful speech cues. Our proposed diversity science model describes the recognition of gendered speech as mediated by listener recognition of gendered social categories. These social categories are underspecified, but can be partially defined by metaphysical beliefs about the realness, desirability, conventionality, agency, and locality of social distinctions.
Article
This study investigated the developmental trajectories of three perceptual domains related to regional dialect competence: the linguistic domain, tested through an intelligibility in noise task; the objective indexical domain, tested through locality judgments and a free classification task; and the subjective indexical domain, tested through smart and friendly judgments. To allow direct comparison across domains, participants aged 4–71 years (N = 302) completed all tasks with the same talkers from four regional dialects of American English. The results demonstrated that development in each of these domains is protracted, with changes occurring as late as early adulthood. However, the developmental trajectories for each task and the connections between them differed significantly among the stimulus dialects. These dialect-specific patterns suggest that dialect perception requires extensive exposure to variety-specific linguistic and socio-cultural information, and the lengthy timecourse of sociolinguistic development reflects the substantial exposure that is necessary to successfully integrate linguistic and social information.
Article
Cognitive models of sociolinguistics must support a wide range of goal‐oriented behavior (e.g. Eckert, 2000a) without suggesting unrealistic levels of deliberative control on the part of speakers. The current study investigates the limits of deliberative control in audiovisual face‐voice perception. Perceivers evaluated co‐present recorded speech and static face pictures, rating the stimuli on the scales ‘accented’ and ‘good‐looking’ in one of three conditions: as a combined voice and face; evaluating the face while ignoring the voice; and evaluating the voice while ignoring the face. Perceivers' ability to ignore social information from a face or voice upon instruction are taken as indicative of deliberative control in social evaluation. The results suggest that deliberative control and evaluative relevance both play a role in perception, but that available social information is difficult to ignore completely. They further suggest an asymmetry making voices more difficult to ignore than static faces and support a model of sociolinguistic perception and evaluation as a function of multiple competing processes under varying degrees of deliberative control.
Article
An individual's language can change in the moment due to the topic of conversation and over time because of regional mobility. This paper investigates the relationship between these two types of shifts by asking whether speakers with substantial second dialect exposure change their pronunciation more when the topic changes in a regionally meaningful way compared to speakers with less exposure. Specifically, topic-based shifts on three phonological variables that differ between British and US English are investigated in native speakers of both dialects as a function of the migrant status of the speaker. Experience matters in that speakers only shift between variants in their repertoire, and expatriates have acquired some second dialect features that nonmigrants do not have. However, it does not appear that more exposure to, or increased rates of usage of a variant leads to more topic-based shifting toward that variant. These findings, interpreted within the existing literature, suggest that topic-based shifts are driven primarily by stereotypical sociolinguistic representations.
Book
Full-text available
New Zealand English - at just 150 years old - is one of the newest varieties of English, and is unique in that its full history and development are documented in extensive audio-recordings. The rich corpus of spoken language provided by New Zealand's ‘mobile disk unit’ has provided insight into how the earliest New Zealand-born settlers spoke, and consequently, how this new variety of English developed. On the basis of these recordings, this book examines and analyses the extensive linguistic changes New Zealand English has undergone since it was first spoken in the 1850s. The authors, all experts in phonetics and sociolinguistics, use the data to test previous explanations for new dialect formation, and to challenge current claims about the nature of language change. © Elizabeth Gordon, Lyle Campbell, Jennifer Hay, Margaret Maclagan, Andrea Sudbury, and Peter Trudgill 2004 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Article
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Niedzielski (1999) reports on an experiment which demonstrates that individ- uals in Detroit 'hear' more Canadian Raising in the speech of a speaker when they think that speaker is Canadian. We describe an experiment designed to follow up on this result in a New Zealand context. Participants listened to a New Zealand English (NZE) speaker reading a list of sentences. Each sentence appeared on the answer-sheet, with a target word underlined. For each sen- tence, participants were asked to select from a synthesized vowel continuum the token that best matched the target vowel produced by the speaker. Half the participants had an answer-sheet with the word 'Australian' written on it, and half had an answer-sheet with 'New Zealander' written on it. Participants in the two conditions behaved significantly differently from one another. For example, they were more likely to hear a higher fronter /I/ vowel when 'Aus- tralian' appeared on the answer sheet, and more likely to hear a centralized version when 'New Zealander' appeared - a trend which reflects production differences between the two dialects. This is despite the fact that nearly all participants reported that they knew they were listening to a New Zealander. We discuss the implication of these results, and argue that they support exem- plar models of speech perception.
Article
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The experiments reported here used auditory–visual mismatches to compare three approaches to speaker normalization in speech perception: radical invariance, vocal tract normalization, and talker normalization. In contrast to the first two, the talker normalization theory assumes that listeners' subjective, abstract impressions of talkers play a role in speech perception. Experiment 1 found that the gender of a visually presented face affects the location of the phoneme boundary between [Ω] and [Λ] in the perceptual identification of a continuum of auditory–visual stimuli ranging from hood to hud. This effect was found for both “stereotypical” and “non-stereotypical” male and female voices. The experiment also found that voice stereotypicality had an effect on the phoneme boundary. The difference between male and female talkers was greater when the talkers were rated by listeners as “stereotypical”. Interestingly, for the two female talkers in this experiment, rated stereotypicality was correlated with voice breathiness rather than vowel fundamental frequency. Experiment 2 replicated and extended experiment 1 and tested whether the visual stimuli in experiment 1 were being perceptually integrated with the acoustic stimuli. In addition to the effects found in experiment 1, there was a boundary effect for the visually presented word: listeners responded hood more frequently when the acoustic stimulus was paired with a movie clip of a talker saying hood. Experiment 3 tested the abstractness of the talker information used in speech perception. Rather than seeing movie clips of male and female talkers, listeners were instructed to imagine a male or female talker while performing an audio-only identification task with a gender-ambiguous hood-hud continuum. The phoneme boundary differed as a function of the imagined gender of the talker. The results from these experiments suggest that listeners integrate abstract gender information with phonetic information in speech perception. This conclusion supports the talker normalization theory of perceptual speaker normalization.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we present the results of a trend analysis comparing acoustic vowel data collected from Australian English speakers over the past 40 years. Results reveal the final stage of short front vowel raising and provide evidence for subsequent lowering as a change in progress. We argue that this result reflects the reversal of a series of vowel changes that have been in progress for over 100 years. These findings raise interesting theoretical questions about the nature of vowel shifts and challenge Bybee's (1) assertion that sound change reversals cannot occur. Index Terms: phonetics, vowels, sound change
Article
In standard models of phonetic implementation, surface phonological representations arise as words are retrieved from the lexicon and assembled in a buffer, where the phrasal intonation and prosody are added. These (categorical and hierarchical) representations provide the input to the phonetic implementation rules, which map them into motor gestures and acoustic outcomes. The model has been highly successful in handling across-the-board effects on phonetic outcomes, including language-specific phonetic patterns of allophony and shifts in overall voice level or force of articulation. The very causes of this success render it unable to handle instances of word-specific phonetic detail, which have now come to light through large-scale experimental and sociolinguistic studies. This paper summarizes the evidence that long-term representations of words include more phonetic detail than previously imagined. It sketches a hybrid model of speech production, in which exemplar theory is used to model implicit knowledge of the probability distributions for phonological elements as well as of word-specific phonetic patterns. Production goals for specific phonological elements are biased by stronger activation of exemplars associated with the current word. Thus, experience with specific words influences the exact production goals for those words, even as the phonological decomposition plays the dominant role. The consequences of this model for the production of morphologically complex words are also explored. The model also provides a mechanism for the subphonemic paradigm uniformity effects which other authors have recently documented. © 2002 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, All rights reserved.
Article
This work examines the effect of gender stereotypes on the perception of language by drawing together findings from the fields of speech perception, gender studies, and social psychology. Results from two speech perception experiments are reviewed that show that listeners’ stereotypes about gender, as activated by the faces and voices of speakers, alter the listeners’ perception of the fricatives /s/ and /∫/ . One experiment employs auditory-only consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) tokens and the other employs audiovisual stimuli created from the same tokens synthesized with talking faces. This effect of stereotypes on low-level speech processing must be accounted for in models of perception, cognition, and the relationship between the physical and social environment.
Article
This study provides the results of an acoustic analysis of the short front vowels in the speech of New Zealanders born between the 1890s and the 1930s. It will be shown that it is in this period in which the system of short front vowels undergoes a typological change, whereby a system of three short front vowels develops into one of two front vowels ( ) and one central vowel ( ). It will be further shown that these processes are interrelated and can justifiably be called a “chain-shift.” In addition, it will be demonstrated that centralization of postdates the raising of the other vowels, and that rates of centralization are dependent on consonantal environment. a
Article
The DRESS vowel in New Zealand English (NZE) has been raising for some time, so that it now overlaps the acoustic space of FLEECE for many younger speakers. This article presents an acoustic analysis of the DRESS and FLEECE vowels of 80 speakers and shows that DRESS continues to raise in contemporary NZE so that for some speakers DRESS has risen above FLEECE and can be more front than FLEECE. FLEECE has diphthongized as a consequence, making it part of the New Zealand “short front vowel” shift. This suggests that the short/long distinction in New Zealand English may have broken down, at least for the front vowels. The diphthongization of FLEECE is most advanced in tokens that are followed by voiceless codas. These are the tokens that are most endangered by the high DRESS, as they are distinguished neither in acoustic space, nor by length. a
Article
In this article, we report on the results of a study of the diphthongs EAR and AIR, which are merging for many New Zealand speakers. Each stage of the study, which has been repeated at five-year intervals since 1983, involves the analysis of word lists and sentences read by over 100 14- and 15-year-old school pupils. The results show a clear trend toward a merger to the EAR diphthong. This is also confirmed in a study carried out in 1994 of 79 speakers (selected according to age, sex, and socioeconomic class) reading six word pairs. The results from both of these studies differ from those reported by Holmes and Bell (1992). We suggest the reasons for the different results could be methodological, and that the mechanism of the merger is merger by approximation after the AIR diphthong became involved in the New Zealand front vowel chain-shift raising.
Article
Two sets of data are discussed in terms of an exemplar-resonance model of the lexicon. First, a cross-linguistic review of vowel formant measurements indicate that phonetic differences between male and female talkers are a function of language, dissociated to a certain extent from vocal tract length. Second, an auditory word recognition study [Strand (2000). Gender Stereotype Effects in Speech Processing. Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio State University] indicates that listeners can process words faster when the talker has a stereotypical sounding voice. An exemplar-resonance model of perception derives these effects suggesting that reentrant pathways [Edelman (1987). Neural Darwinism: The theory of neuronal group selection. New York: Basic Books] between cognitive categories and detailed exemplars of them leads to the emergence of social and linguistic entities.
Article
In New Zealand English there is a merger-in-progress of the near and square diphthongs. This paper investigates the consequences of this merger for speech perception.We report on an experiment involving the speech of four New Zealanders—two male, and two female. All four speakers make a distinction between near and square. Participants took part in a binary forced-choice identification task which included 20 near/square items produced by each of the four speakers. All participants were presented with identical auditory stimuli. However the visual presentation differed. Across four conditions, we paired each voice with a series of photos—an “older” looking photo, a “younger” looking photo, a “middle class” photo and a “working class” photo. The middle and working class photos were, in fact, photos of the same people, in different attire. In a fifth condition, participants completed the task with no associated photos. At the end of the identification task, each participant was recorded reading a near/square wordlist, containing the same items as appeared in the perception task.The results show that a wide range of factors influence accuracy in the perception task. These include participant-specific characteristics, word-specific characteristics, context-specific characteristics, and perceived speaker characteristics. We argue that, taken together, the results provide strong support for exemplar-based models of speech perception, in which exemplars are socially indexed.
Article
In this article we define and illustrate sociophonetic variation within speech, highlighting both its pervasiveness and also the relatively minor role it has played in the development of phonetic and phonological theory. Reviewing evidence from studies of adults and children, we suggest that cognitive representations of words combine linguistic and indexical information, and that both types of information are present from the first stages of acquisition. We suggest that an exemplar-based model of phonological knowledge offers the most productive means of modeling sociophonetic variation. We discuss some of the characteristics of an exemplar-based account of sociophonetic variability and highlight some strands of investigation which would facilitate its further development.
Article
The style dimension of language variation has not been adequately explained in sociolinguistic theory. Stylistic or intraspeaker variation derives from and mirrors interspeaker variation. Style is essentially speakers' response to their audience. In audience design, speakers accommodate primarily to their addressee. Third persons – auditors and overhearers – affect style to a lesser but regular degree. Audience design also accounts for bilingual or bidialectal code choices. Nonaudience factors like topic and setting derive their effect by association with addressee types. These style shifts are mainly responsive – caused by a situational change. Speakers can also use style as initiative, to redefine the existing situation. Initiative style is primarily referee design: divergence from the addressee and towards an absent reference group. Referee design is especially prevalent in mass communication. (Sociolinguistic variation, code-switching. bilingualism, accommodation theory, ethnography of communication, mass communication)
Article
It is well established that speakers accommodate in speech production. Recent work has shown a similar effect in perception—speech perception is affected by a listener’s beliefs about the speaker. In this paper, we explore the consequences of such perceptual accommodation for experiments in speech perception and lexical access. Our interest is whether perceptual accommodation to one speaker—the experimenter who meets participants, for example— might have carry-over effects on participants’ behavior in subsequent tasks that do not directly involve the experimenter’s voice. We explore this possibility by exposing groups of participants to different varieties of English before they participate in experiments involving speech perception and/or lexical access. Our results reveal that the nature of this prior exposure considerably influences participants’ behavior in the tasks. This suggests that the phonetic detail of encountered speech is stored in the lexicon, together with information about the speaker’s regional origin. Subparts of phonetically detailed lexical distributions can then be effectively ‘primed’ by exposure to speakers or lexical items associated with particular dialects. We argue for an exemplar model of lexical representation with both word-level and phoneme-level representations. The consequences of cross-dialectal priming vary, depending on whether tasks involve primarily word-level or phoneme-level access.
Article
The concept of sport related tourismhas become more prominent in the last fewyears as both an academic field of study and an increasingly popular tourism product (Gibson, 1998). Sport tourism includes travel to participate in a passive (e.g. sports events and museums) or active sport holiday (e.g. scuba diving and cycling), and itmay involve instances where sport or tourism itself is the dominant activity or reason for travel. However, little research has been undertaken to examine the profile of sport touristmarket segments in an attemptto understandthese segments andtheir potential as tourism markets. This paper will examine one such attempt to profile sport tourist spectators through surveying sport tourists attending Super 12 Rugby Union matches at Bruce Stadium, Canberra in April/May 2000. The paper discusses the preliminary results of this exploratory study, and examines the sporting behaviour and travel behaviour of spectators. The paper will then discuss differences between spectator characteristicswith an emphasis on examining high yield segments based on sport and travelbehaviour, andwill conclude witha discussionof future researchpossibilities.
Article
Forty-one Detroit-area residents were given perceptual tests in which they were asked to choose from a set of resynthesized vowels the tokens that they felt best matched the vowels they heard in the speech of a fellow Detroiter. Half of the respondents were told that the speaker was from Detroit, whereas half were told that she was from Canada. Respondents given the Canadian label chose raised-diphthong tokens as those present in the dialect of the speaker, whereas those given the Michigan label did not. Respondents given the Michigan label chose vowels that were quite different from the Northern Cities Chain-Shifted variety present in the speaker's dialect. Because the "speaker's" perceived nationality was the only aspect that varied between the two groups of respondents, this label alone must have caused the difference in the selection of tokens. This indicates that listeners use social information in speech perception.
Article
The dynamic nature of vowel systems has recently been investigated in several English dialects confirming that phonetic disruptions often have systemic consequences and suggesting that change follows predictable patterns of movement. The present paper examines the nature of vowel change in Australian English by comparing two sets of data from different subjects at each end of a 25-year interval. A series of multivariate analyses of variance reveals significant acoustic differences between the two sets of data providing strong evidence for systemic effects. The analysis also indicates the presence of chain and parallel shifts within vowel classes as well as a close correspondence between monophthong and diphthong movement in phonetic space. The observed monophthong/diphthong relationships suggests that change in one class of vowels impacts on the other in a parallel fashion in this dialect of English.
In preparation. Klattworks: A [somewhat] new systematic approach to formant-based speech synthesis for empirical research
  • Bob Mcmurray
McMurray, Bob. In preparation. Klattworks: A [somewhat] new systematic approach to formant-based speech synthesis for empirical research.
Sport and women: Social issues in international perspective
  • Shona Thompson
Thompson, Shona. 2003. Women and sport in New Zealand. In Ilse Hartmann-Tews & Gertrud Pfister (eds.), Sport and women: Social issues in international perspective, 252-265. London & New York: Routledge.
The hard man: Rugby and the formation of male identity in New Zealand
  • Jock Phillips
Phillips, Jock. 1996. The hard man: Rugby and the formation of male identity in New Zealand. In John Nauright & Timothy John Lindsay Chandler (eds.) Making men: Rugby and masculine identity, 70-90. London: Routledge.
Standing in the sunshine: A history of New Zealand women since they won the vote
  • Sandra Coney
Coney, Sandra. 1993. Standing in the sunshine: A history of New Zealand women since they won the vote. Auckland: Viking.
From bad to bed: the relationship between perceived age and vowel perception in New Zealand English
  • Katie Drager
Drager, Katie. 2006. From bad to bed: the relationship between perceived age and vowel perception in New Zealand English. Te Reo 48. 55-68.
R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing
  • R Development
  • Core Team
R Development Core Team. 2004. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org.
An acoustic study of New Zealand English vowels. The New Zealand
  • Margaret Maclagan
Maclagan, Margaret. 1982. An acoustic study of New Zealand English vowels. The New Zealand Speech Therapists Journal 37. 20-26.
Sport and post-colonialism
  • Springbok Rugby
  • Tour
Springbok Rugby Tour. In John Bald & Mike Cronin (eds.) Sport and post-colonialism, 51–63. New York: Berg.
Social effects on the perception of DRESS
  • Katie Drager
Drager, Katie. 2005. Social effects on the perception of DRESS and TRAP in New Zealand English. Christchurch: University of Canterbury MA thesis.
Oprah and /ay/: Lexical frequency, referee design and style
  • Jennifer Hay
  • Stefanie Jannedy
  • Norma Mendoza-Denton
Hay, Jennifer, Stefanie Jannedy & Norma Mendoza-Denton. 1999. Oprah and /ay/: Lexical frequency, referee design and style. Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 1389-1392. Amsterdam.