Some acoustic cues for the perceptual categorization of American English regional dialects

Cynthia G. Clopper, David Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The perception of phonological differences between regional dialects of American English by naïve listeners has received little attention in the speech perception literature and is still a poorly understood problem. Two experiments were carried out using the TIMIT corpus of spoken sentences produced by talkers from a number of distinct dialect regions in the United States. In Experiment 1, acoustic analysis techniques identified several phonetic features that can be used to distinguish different dialects. In Experiment 2, recordings of the sentences were played back to naïve listeners who were asked to categorize talkers into one of six geographical dialect regions. Results showed that listeners are able to reliably categorize talkers using three broad dialect clusters (New England, South, North/West), but that they have more difficulty categorizing talkers into six smaller regions. Multiple regression analyses on the acoustic measures, the actual dialect affiliation of the talkers, and the categorization responses revealed that the listeners in this study made use of several reliable acoustic-phonetic properties of the dialects in categorizing the talkers. Taken together, the results of these two experiments confirm that naïve listeners have knowledge of phonological differences between dialects and can use this knowledge to categorize talkers by dialect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-140
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

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dialect
Acoustics
acoustics
Cues
Phonetics
listener
Speech Perception
New England
experiment
Regression Analysis
phonetics
Regional Dialects
Acoustic Cues
Talkers
American English
regional difference
Listeners
recording
Experiment
regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Some acoustic cues for the perceptual categorization of American English regional dialects. / Clopper, Cynthia G.; Pisoni, David.

In: Journal of Phonetics, Vol. 32, No. 1, 01.2004, p. 111-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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