14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Dialect Identification from Prosodic Cues

Christina G. Foreman

University of California, Los Angeles, USA

It is a well known fact that dialects differ in prosodic features as well as segmental features. Though few studies have focused on prosody, existing research provides evidence of distinct differences in the intonation pattern between African-American English (AAE) and Mainstream American English (MAE). This study examines how speakers use such prosodic cues to differentiate AAE from MAE. It was hypothesized that dialect identification is easiest in cases where the intonation pattern of an utterance is dialect-specific and does not vary across speakers within a dialect group. It was also hypothesized that the degree of exposure to AAE is positively correlated with the accuracy rate for identifying AAE.
   Results show that neither sex nor race alone had an effect on accuracy in dialect identification, but exposure to AAE had a measurable effect on performance in terms of both accuracy and confidence in identification.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Foreman, Christina G. (1999): "Dialect identification from prosodic cues", In ICPhS-14, 1237-1240.