[2016] 9th session Lisa Davidson (NYU), Time: 2016-10-19, 04:00 PM

9th session

- Lisa Davidson (NYU)
- Environmental effects on the interpretation of phonetic detail in non-native phonotactics
- Time: 2016-10-19, 04:00 PM
- Place: #4 B302
- Abstract: Recent research has shown that speakers are sensitive to non-contrastive phonetic detail present in nonnative speech (e.g., Escudero et al. 2012, Wilson et al. 2014). Difficulty in mapping this unfamiliar phonetic variation to possible phonemic categories can lead to modification of nonnative forms with vowel epenthesis and other changes. This mapping problem may be exacerbated in the classroom, as previous studies have found that classroom acoustics has a detrimental effect on listeners’ ability to identify nonnative sounds and words (e.g., Takata and Nábělek, 1990). In this talk, I address the effects of two acoustic environments—a soundbooth and a classroom—on English speakers’ ability to process and produce unfamiliar consonant sequences.  A number of acoustic-phonetic properties were modified to create stimulus variants that typically signal non-contrastive variation within languages that contain such obstruent-obstruent and obstruent-nasal clusters. English speakers’ productions of the stimuli were significantly modulated by the acoustic manipulations in both environments, suggesting that the relevant acoustic detail is not substantially degraded in the classroom. However, differences in the response patterns in the two environments indicate that the classroom setting does affect how speakers interpret nonnative phonetic detail for the purpose of establishing production targets.