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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Prosody versus Segments in the Identification of Orkney and Shetland Dialects

Klaske van Leyden, Vincent J. van Heuven

Universiteit Leiden Centre for Linguistics, The Netherlands

This study examines the relative importance of intonation versus segmental structure to the (mutual) identifiability of Orkney and Shetland dialects by native listeners of each of these varieties. In both normal (intelligible) and filtered (unintelligible) speech, three types of test utterance were generated: original intonation, monotonised speech, and transplanted melodies. In experiment 1, listeners proved quite able to distinguish Orkney versus Shetland speech on the basis of intonation contour only. In experiment 2, it was shown that intonation contour was a more important cue than segmental information for Orcadians but not for Shetland listeners. This result defies earlier findings, and common-sense reasoning, suggesting that prosodic differences are always secondary cues in the identification of language varieties.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Leyden, Klaske van / Heuven, Vincent J. van (2003): "Prosody versus segments in the identification of orkney and shetland dialects", In ICPhS-15, 1197-1200.