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Adaptation to Novel Accents: Feature-Based Learning of Context-Sensitive Phonological Regularities

Skoruppa, Katrin and Peperkamp, Sharon (2010) 'Adaptation to Novel Accents: Feature-Based Learning of Context-Sensitive Phonological Regularities.' Cognitive Science, 35 (2). pp. 348-366. ISSN 0364-0213

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Abstract

This paper examines whether adults can adapt to novel accents of their native language that contain unfamiliar context-dependent phonological alternations. In two experiments, French participants listen to short stories read in accented speech. Their knowledge of the accents is then tested in a forced-choice identification task. In Experiment 1, two groups of listeners are exposed to newly created French accents in which certain vowels harmonize or disharmonize, respectively, to the rounding of the preceding vowel. Despite the cross-linguistic predominance of vowel harmony over disharmony, the two groups adapt equally well to both accents, suggesting that this typological difference is not reflected in perceptual learning. Experiment 2 further explores the mechanism underlying this type of phonological learning. Participants are exposed to an accent in which some vowels harmonize and others disharmonize, yielding an increased featural complexity. They adapt less well to this regularity, showing that adaptation to novel accents involves feature-based inferences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Speech perception; Phonological learning; Dialects; Accents; Features
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2012 16:41
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2012 16:41
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/4248

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