Effects of region of origin and geographic mobility on perceptual dialect categorization

Cynthia G. Clopper, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


Recent findings have shown that listeners' region of origin and geographic mobility affect their perception of dialect-specific properties of speech in vowel identification and dialect categorization tasks. The present study examined the perceptual dialect classification performance of four groups of listeners using a six-alternative forced-choice categorization task. The residential history of the listeners was manipulated so that the four groups of listeners differed in terms of region of origin (Northern or Midland United States) and geographic mobility (Mobile or Non-Mobile). Although residential history did not significantly affect accuracy in the categorization task, both region of origin and geographic mobility were found to affect the underlying perceptual similarity structure of the different regional varieties. Geographically local dialects tended to be confused more often than nonlocal dialects, although this effect was attenuated by geographic mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-221
Number of pages29
JournalLanguage Variation and Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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