Recent studies have shown that talkers implicitly imitate/accommodate the phonetic properties of recently heard speech (e.g., Goldinger 1998; Pardo, 2006). However, it has also been shown that this phonetic imitation effect is not an automatic process: in Nielsen (2008), the artificially lengthened VOT on /p/ was imitated in a non-shadowing task, while shortened VOT (which could jeopardize phonemic contrast) was not imitated. The current study explores the extent to which phonological factors unrelated to contrast preservation also affect imitation of phonetic details, specifically, Japanese vowel devoicing. The results revealed significant imitation of Japanese devoicing, indicating that even in phonologically constrained environments, perceived fine phonetic details are imitable and can subsequently affect speech production .
Bibliographic reference. Nielsen, Kuniko (2010): "Phonetic imitation of Japanese vowel devoicing", In INTERSPEECH-2010, 1553-1556.