This article is part of the Research Topic Ecological aspects of speech perception

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 12 November 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00480

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

  • 1UMR 7309, Laboratoire Parole et Langage, CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 2Laboratoire URECA, Université de Lille III, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France

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: speech, imitation, spoken word recognition, French, regional variety

Citation: Nguyen N, Dufour S and Brunellière A (2012) Does imitation facilitate word recognition in a non-native regional accent? Front. Psychology 3:480. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00480

Received: 30 May 2012; Accepted: 17 October 2012;
Published online: 12 November 2012.

Edited by:

Holger Mitterer, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Sharon Peperkamp, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, France
Matthias J. Sjerps, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Netherlands
P. Adank, University of Manchester, UK

Copyright: © 2012 Nguyen, Dufour and Brunellière. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Noël Nguyen, Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-Marseille Université, 5 Avenue Pasteur, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France. e-mail: noel.nguyen@lpl-aix.fr

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