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Volume 56, Issue 1


Divergence in speech perception

Abby Walker
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of English, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 409 Shanks Hall, 181 Turner St NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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/ Jennifer Hay / Katie Drager
  • Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1890 East-West Road, Moore Hall 569, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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/ Kauyumari Sanchez
  • Department of Psychology, Humboldt State University, Behavioral and Social Science Building #410, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA 95519, USA
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Published Online: 2017-12-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0036


This paper presents results from an experiment designed to test whether New Zealand listeners’ perceptual adaptation towards Australian English is mediated by their attitudes toward Australia, which we attempted to manipulate experimentally. Participants were put into one of three conditions, where they either read good facts about Australia, bad facts about Australia, or no facts about Australia (the control). Participants performed the same listening task – matching the vowel in a sentence to a vowel in a synthesized continuum – before and after reading the facts. The results indicate that participants who read the bad facts shifted their perception of kit to more Australian-like tokens relative to the control group, while the participants who read good facts shifted their perception of kit to more NZ-like tokens relative to the control group. This result shows that perceptual adaptation towards a dialect can occur in the absence of a speaker of that dialect and that these adaptations are subject to a listener’s (manipulated) affect towards the primed dialect region.

Keywords: perception; adaptation; attitudes; divergence


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-12-14

Published in Print: 2018-01-26

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 56, Issue 1, Pages 257–278, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0036.

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