Word durations in non-native English

Rachel E. Baker*, Melissa Baese-Berk, Laurent Bonnasse-Gahot, Midam Kim, Kristin J. Van Engen, Ann R. Bradlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we compare the effects of English lexical features on word duration for native and non-native English speakers and for non-native speakers with different L1s and a range of L2 experience. We also examine whether non-native word durations lead to judgments of a stronger foreign accent. We measured word durations in English paragraphs read by 12 American English (AE), 20 Korean, and 20 Chinese speakers. We also had AE listeners rate the 'accentedness' of these non-native speakers. AE speech had shorter durations, greater within-speaker word duration variance, greater reduction of function words, and less between-speaker variance than non-native speech. However, both AE and non-native speakers showed sensitivity to lexical predictability by reducing second mentions and high-frequency words. Non-native speakers with more native-like word durations, greater within-speaker word duration variance, and greater function word reduction were perceived as less accented. Overall, these findings identify word duration as an important and complex feature of foreign-accented English.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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    Baker, R. E., Baese-Berk, M., Bonnasse-Gahot, L., Kim, M., Van Engen, K. J., & Bradlow, A. R. (2011). Word durations in non-native English. Journal of Phonetics, 39(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2010.10.006