Perceptual adaptation to non-native speech

Ann R. Bradlow*, Tessa Bent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

510 Scopus citations


This study investigated talker-dependent and talker-independent perceptual adaptation to foreign-accent English. Experiment 1 investigated talker-dependent adaptation by comparing native English listeners' recognition accuracy for Chinese-accented English across single and multiple talker presentation conditions. Results showed that the native listeners adapted to the foreign-accented speech over the course of the single talker presentation condition with some variation in the rate and extent of this adaptation depending on the baseline sentence intelligibility of the foreign-accented talker. Experiment 2 investigated talker-independent perceptual adaptation to Chinese-accented English by exposing native English listeners to Chinese-accented English and then testing their perception of English produced by a novel Chinese-accented talker. Results showed that, if exposed to multiple talkers of Chinese-accented English during training, native English listeners could achieve talker-independent adaptation to Chinese-accented English. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for highly flexible speech perception processes that can adapt to speech that deviates substantially from the pronunciation norms in the native talker community along multiple acoustic-phonetic dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-729
Number of pages23
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Foreign-accented speech
  • Perceptual learning
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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