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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Phonetic Accommodation to Non-Native English Speech


Phonetic accommodation is the process in which a speaker becomes more phonetically similar to his or her interlocutor over the course of a conversation. This experiment investigates phonetic accommodation in the English speech of Mandarin speakers after exposure to a model speaker who shares their language background. The results show that when including phones, tasks, and conditions as dependent variables, there are statistically significant differences across tasks and phones. Phonetic accommodation is observed in all shadowing tasks and the effect remains in post-shadow task in some dependent variables. The social manipulation of this study is only statistically significant in formant durations and word-final consonant clusters durations and the pattern suggests that subjects who were in the condition that encouraged speakers to achieve a closer social distance with the interlocutor accommodated more than subjects in the condition that were encouraged to be native-English like. This experiment thus contributes to the understanding of phonetic accommodation in second language English speakers under different conditions.

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