Accent Categorisation by Lay Listeners: Which Type of 'Native Ear' Works Better?
SourceYork Papers in Linguistics. Series 2 (Online), 14, (2015), pp. 106-131
Article / Letter to editor
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York Papers in Linguistics. Series 2 (Online)
Listeners, be they lay or expert, can to a greater or lesser extent distinguish and correctly identify different accents of familiar languages. This ability plays a central role across a spectrum of speech perception-based activities, not the least of which are speaker profiling and comparison of the sort carried out for forensic purposes. Factors that affect listeners’ abilities to identify different accents, such as their native linguistic competence and their level of familiarity with the target variety, have been reported extensively in the literature. However, we currently lack data from studies that make direct comparisons of listeners’ abilities to correctly categorise foreign-accented varieties of a language they speak natively(L1 listeners) against the competence of non-native speakers of that language (L2 listeners), where the aim of the listening task is to categorise familiar and unfamiliar foreign accents of the language. The present study is designed to investigate these issues by looking at how well a listener’s “native ear” allows him or her to judge the origins of non-native speakers of English.
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