15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Production and Perception of Temporal Contrasts in Foreign-Accented English

Bruce Smith (1), Ann R. Bradlow (2), Tessa Bent (2)

(1) University of Utah, USA
(2) Northwestern University, USA

Several temporal features of English were examined to determine the extent of their occurrence in the speech of talkers of Chinese-accented English who had relatively limited experience with spoken English. Data from sentences produced by ten non-native and ten native talkers indicated that the two groups did not differ significantly in the extent to which they realized the inherent duration difference between tense and lax vowels or for syllable-final vowel lengthening. Although the
   group of native English talkers showed substantially greater vowel lengthening before voiced versus before voiceless consonants than the Chinese-accented group, certain individual, non-native talkers did show patterns reasonably similar to those of native talkers. In order to investigate the perceptual consequences of these observations, a follow-up study was designed with a focus on the vowel duration difference before voiced versus voiceless consonants. This investigation tested the abilities of native and non-native listeners to identify words produced by native English-speaking subjects and by Chinese-accented talkers who exhibited varying amounts of vowel lengthening before voiced versus voiceless consonants, in order to assess the impact of this temporal parameter on intelligibility.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Smith, Bruce / Bradlow, Ann R. / Bent, Tessa (2003): "Production and perception of temporal contrasts in foreign-accented English", In ICPhS-15, 519-522.