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THE EFFECT OF TALKER NATIVENESS ON THE PERCEPTION OF VOICING IN SYLLABLE-INITIAL PLOSIVES BY AMERICAN ENGLISH MONOLINGUALS

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Title:THE EFFECT OF TALKER NATIVENESS ON THE PERCEPTION OF VOICING IN SYLLABLE-INITIAL PLOSIVES BY AMERICAN ENGLISH MONOLINGUALS
Authors:Chong, Peter
Contributors:Drager, Katie (advisor)
Linguistics (department)
Keywords:Linguistics
Sociolinguistics
Non-native accent
Plosives
Sociolinguistics
show 3 moreSociophonetics
Speech perception
Voice onset time
show less
Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Talker nativeness has been shown to influence listeners’ perception and comprehension of speech (Floccia, Butler, Goslin, & Ellis, 2009; Rubin, 1992). Previous research on the effect of talker nativeness has focused on larger linguistic units such as lexical items and sentences. The current dissertation investigates whether American English monolinguals’ perception of syllable-initial bilabial plosives differed according to when they believe a syllable is produced by a native talker or a non-native talker. This question was explored through a series of three experiments all using the binary forced choice syllable identification task. Specifically, these experiments test whether the native listeners’ perception of bilabial plosives is different when an identical syllable continuum is inserted into a frame sentence produced by a native speaker of American English versus a frame sentence produced by a non-native speaker.
In Experiment One, a syllable continuum constructed from natural /pa/ and /ba/ tokens produced by a female native speaker of American English was inserted into a frame sentence produced by the same native speaker (native talker condition) and a frame sentence produced by a Mexican woman who is a native speaker of Spanish (non-native talker condition); the talkers varied across condition but the continuum was produced by a single talker in order to control for acoustic differences inherent in syllables produced by different talkers and to ensure the VOT range of the syllable continuum is equal across both talker conditions. The analysis focuses on responses from 25 participants who were American English monolinguals. The results show that participants are more likely to perceive syllables in the non-native talker condition as /pa/ than those in the native talker condition.
The results of Experiment One provide evidence that whether a talker is a native speaker affects how their bilabial plosives are perceived. However, it is possible that the findings were a result of participants using voice onset time (VOT) cues present in the talkers’ frame sentences. Experiment Two aimed to determine if talker nativeness had an effect even when the frame sentences for both talkers were modified to have identical VOT cues in word initial bilabial plosives. Responses from a new set of 25 monolingual participants were analysed. The results show that participants are still more likely to perceive syllables in the non-native talker condition as /pa/ than those in the native talker condition.
In Experiment Three, a native speaker of Mandarin from China produced the frame sentence in the non-native talker condition. This was done to test whether the talker nativeness effect observed in Experiments One and Two was present when a different non-native accent is used. Responses from 25 monolingual participants who did not participate in any of the previous experiments were analysed. The results demonstrate that participants responded differently to items in the two conditions and were more likely to perceive syllables in the native talker condition as /pa/ than those in the non-native talker condition.
In conclusion, this dissertation found that like other types of talker-related information such as age and gender, talker nativeness has an effect on listeners’ perceptions of speech sounds. The findings of the dissertation are also consistent with experience-based models of speech perception.
Pages/Duration:114 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/63500
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Linguistics


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