INTERSPEECH 2013
14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

Native English Listeners' Perceptions of Prosody in L1 and L2 Reading

Caroline L. Smith, Paul Edmunds

University of New Mexico, USA

Rapid Prosody Transcription (RPT) was used to investigate listenersf perceptions of prosody in reading by native and non-native English speakers. RPT offers a language-independent tool to access listeners' holistic understanding of prosody. Listeners hear an audio recording of speech while following along on an orthographic, unpunctuated transcript of the recording. They indicate their perception of phrasal boundaries or prominent words by marking them on the transcript in real time. Our listeners showed higher agreement for boundary-marking in the native speakers' reading than the non-nativesf. Listeners marked more boundaries in the non-natives' reading, likely because the non-natives paused more often, although listeners partially compensated by not marking boundaries as often when non-natives made short pauses. For prominence, rates of agreement were higher for the non-natives. This may be due to listeners' marking fewer prominences in the non-natives' reading, meaning that they agreed on the absence of prominent words. Compared to acoustic analysis, studying listener reactions provides more insight into what aspects of non-native prosody are most salient. This may be useful in guiding learners to the most effective ways to improve their prosody.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Smith, Caroline L. / Edmunds, Paul (2013): "Native English listeners' perceptions of prosody in L1 and L2 reading", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 235-238.