8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

Effects of Non-Native Dialects on Spoken Word Recognition

Jennifer T. Le, Catherine T. Best, Michael D. Tyler, Christian Kroos

University of Western Sydney, Australia

The present study examined the premise that lexical information (top-down factors) interacts with phonetic detail (bottom-up, episodic traces) by assessing the impact of dialect variation and word frequency on spoken word recognition. Words were either spoken in the listeners' native dialect (Australian English: AU), or in one of two non-native English dialects differing in phonetic similarity to Australian: South African (SA: more similar) and Jamaican Mesolect (JA: less similar). It was predicted that low-frequency English words spoken in non-native dialects, especially the less similar dialect, would require more information to be recognised due to systematic phonological and/or phonetic differences from native-dialect versions. A gating task revealed that more gates were required for JA than SA dialect words, with this effect even more pronounced for low than high-frequency words. This suggests that recognition of words is contingent upon both detailed phonetic properties within the mental lexicon, as evident in the effects of goodness of fit between native and non-native dialect pronunciations, and on lexical information.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Le, Jennifer T. / Best, Catherine T. / Tyler, Michael D. / Kroos, Christian (2007): "Effects of non-native dialects on spoken word recognition", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 1589-1592.