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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Listener Adaptation to Foreign-Accented English

Ann R. Bradlow, Tessa Bent

Northwestern University, USA

This study investigated talker-independent perceptual learning of a foreign accent by exposing native English listeners to Chinese-accented English and then testing their perception of English produced by a novel Chinese-accented talker. Training conditions involved exposure to either a single or multiple Chinese-accented talkers. Control conditions involved either no training or task training with native English talkers.
   A talker-specific training condition in which the training talker was the same as the Chinese-accented test talker was also included.
   Results showed better performance on the post-training test with the Chinese-accented talker after both the single and multiple talker training conditions relative to the no-training control. However, test performance following single talker training was equivalent to post-test performance following the task training condition (training with native English talkers), demonstrating a strong task familiarity effect. Performance following the multiple talker training was significantly better than following either the single talker or the task training conditions, and was equivalent to performance following the talker-specific training.
   These findings suggest that, with exposure to sufficient variability, listeners can develop highly generalized cognitive representations of Chinese-accented speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bradlow, Ann R. / Bent, Tessa (2003): "Listener adaptation to foreign-accented English", In ICPhS-15, 2881-2884.