ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4pSP16. The perception and processing of foreign-accented speech: Contributions of various phonetic parameters.

Harriet S. Magen

Dept. of Cognitive and Linguistic Sci., Brown Univ., Providence, RI 02912

This research investigates the relative importance of various parameters contributing to the perception and processing of foreign accented speech. A native Spanish speaker of fluent heavily English read phrases designed to elicit prosodic and segmental deviations from American English. Parameters investigated were: prosodic (phrasal intonation and lexical stress); vowel segmental (vowel epenthesis, tense-laxness, reduction); consonant segmental [VOT, final /s/ deletion, fricative voicing (/z--s/), manner ((ess with hacek)--(cee with hacek))]. English-speaking listeners rated extent of foreign accent of the Spanish phrases as actually produced and as edited by computer. Results showed that listeners are sensitive to manipulations, even those involving a brief portion (some as short as 60 ms) of a 3-s phrase, if the manipulation involves a phonological rather than subhonemic category. Results of a word monitoring experiment on the same stimuli will be discussed in terms of the contribution to perception and processing of subphonemic versus phonological and segmental versus prosodic parameters. [Work supported by NIH.]