2pSC5. Foreign-accented rhythm and prosody in reiterant speech.

Session: Tuesday Afternoon, May 14

Time: 2:00

Author: Keiichi Tajima
Location: Dept. of Linguist., Cognit. Sci. Program, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN 47405
Author: Jonathan Dalby
Location: Commun. Disord. Technol., Inc., Bloomington, IN 47404
Author: Robert Port
Location: Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN 47405


The prosodic characteristics of utterances produced by second-language learners were investigated using reiterant speech (RS), a stylized form of speaking in which every syllable is replaced with a standard syllable such as [ma], so that the phrase ``the table'' is pronounced ``ma MAma.'' Native speakers of Chinese and Spanish produced RS versions of short phrases in English and in their native language. Preliminary phonetic analysis shows that the English RS tokens were less accurately produced than were the native-language tokens. A subset of the English tokens were then used as stimuli in a perception test in which native English listeners heard each RS phrase and judged whether it ``matched'' or ``did not match'' an English phrase presented to them visually. The stimulus set consisted of English RS produced by both non-native and native speakers. Preliminary results indicate that listeners were better at judging the match/mismatch of the native English RS tokens than the non-native tokens. This result indicates that there are perceptually relevant differences between native and foreign-accented RS, and suggests that practice in producing more authentic English RS might be a useful method of teaching aspects of English prosody to second-language learners. [Research supported by NIH-NIDCD Grant No. 2R44DC02213-02.]

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996