The Effects of Speaker Accent and Target Predictability on Perception of Mispronunciations This study makes use of a listening for mispronunciation task to examine how native English listeners perceive sentences produced by non-native speakers. The effects of target predictability and degree of foreign accent were investigated. Native and non-native speakers produced English sentences containing mispronunciation. Mispronunciations (MPs) were constructed by changing the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1999
The Effects of Speaker Accent and Target Predictability on Perception of Mispronunciations
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peggy M. Schmid
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences University of Maryland College Park
  • Grace H. Yeni-Komshian
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences University of Maryland College Park
  • Contact author: Grace H. Yeni-Komshian, PhD, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Email: gykomshi@bss1.umd.edu
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1999
The Effects of Speaker Accent and Target Predictability on Perception of Mispronunciations
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1999, Vol. 42, 56-64. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4201.56
History: Received July 17, 1997 , Accepted October 1, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1999, Vol. 42, 56-64. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4201.56
History: Received July 17, 1997; Accepted October 1, 1998

This study makes use of a listening for mispronunciation task to examine how native English listeners perceive sentences produced by non-native speakers. The effects of target predictability and degree of foreign accent were investigated. Native and non-native speakers produced English sentences containing mispronunciation. Mispronunciations (MPs) were constructed by changing the initial phoneme of target words by a single distinctive feature along the dimensions of voicing, place, or manner. Results showed that listeners (a) were more accurate and faster in detecting MPs produced by native than non-native speakers, (b) were more accurate and faster in detecting MPs in predictable than unpredictable sentences, and (3) were more accurate in detecting MPs produced by non-native speakers with milder accents, as compared to heavier accents. These findings suggest that listening to fairly intelligible but accented speech requires increased processing effort—possibly because of subtle differences in intelligibility and increased variability characteristic of non-native speech.

Acknowledgments
The contributions of the following speakers are gratefully acknowledged: U. Ramkumar, R. Ramkumar, A. Marquez, J. Medina, N. Muñoz, C. Cozens-Hoffman, R. Hoffman, J. Wuerch, M. Cullen, and D. Riggins III. The authors also thank N. Bernstein Ratner, W. O. Dingwall, and M. Munro for their insightful comments. Special thanks are due to J. Wuerch for the computer programming he did during each phase of this project.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access