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Front Psychol. 2012 Nov 12;3:480. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00480. eCollection 2012.

Does imitation facilitate word recognition in a non-native regional accent?

Author information

  • 1UMR 7309, Laboratoire Parole et Langage, CNRS, Aix-Marseille Universit√© Aix-en-Provence, France.

Abstract

We asked to what extent phonetic convergence across speakers may facilitate later word recognition. Northern-French participants showed both a clear phonetic convergence effect toward Southern French in a word repetition task, and a bias toward the phonemic system of their own variety in the recognition of single words. Perceptual adaptation to a non-native accent may be difficult when the native accent has a phonemic contrast that is associated with a single phonemic category in the non-native accent. Convergence toward a speaker of a non-native accent in production may not prevent each speaker's native variety to prevail in word identification. Imitation has been found in previous studies to contribute to predicting upcoming words in sentences in adverse listening conditions, but may play a more limited role in the recognition of single words.

KEYWORDS:

French; imitation; regional variety; speech; spoken word recognition

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