Phonetic accommodation between native and non-native speakers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We explored phonetic accommodation during native speaker interactions (four native English pairs and four native Korean pairs) and native-non-native interactions (four native-non-native pairs, all speaking English). Speakers engaged in a collaborative picture description task that lasted approximately 20 min. Utterances from relatively early and late in the task were subsequently presented to native English listeners (or Korean listeners, for the Korean-language dialogues), who were asked to carry out XAB similarity judgments, where X=one talker's utterance and AB=early and late utterances from the partner. Phonetic accommodation is indexed by how frequently listeners select the "late" utterance as sounding more similar to the target utterance. An independent group of native English speakers rated the nonnative utterances for degree of accentedness. Phonetic convergence was observed for native-native conversations (English or Korean), and this was stronger when speakers shared the same or similar dialects. In native-non-native conversations, none of the native speakers converged towards a nonnative partner, while non-native speakers showed different patterns depending on their proficiency, with greatest convergence for moderately accented nonnatives. The results suggest that phonetic accommodation can occur cross-linguistically, and that it may be constrained both by speakers' dialect and by their language proficiency.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-156
Number of pages32
JournalLaboratory Phonology
StatePublished - 2011


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