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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Vowel Normalization for Accent: A Comparison of Northern and Southern British English Speakers

Bronwen G. Evans, Paul Iverson

University College London, UK

Two experiments investigated whether listeners change their vowel categorization decisions to adjust to different accents of British English. Listeners from different regions of England gave goodness ratings on synthesized vowels embedded in natural carrier sentences that were produced in either a northern or southern accent by a single male speaker. A computer minimization algorithm adjusted F1, F2, F3, and duration until the best exemplar of each vowel was found. The results demonstrated that some listeners normalize their vowel categorization decisions based on the accent of the carrier sentence, and that patterns of normalization are affected by individual differences in language background. The patterns of normalization corresponded with the changes in production that speakers typically make due to sociolinguistic factors, when living in multidialectal environments.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Evans, Bronwen G. / Iverson, Paul (2003): "Vowel normalization for accent: a comparison of Northern and Southern British English speakers", In ICPhS-15, 829-832.