Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Embargo Period

12-15-2014

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

February

Advisor Name

Alexandra

Advisor Last Name

Jesse

Abstract

The present thesis focuses on how native English listeners process phonological rule misapplications in non-native-accented speech. In Experiment 1, we examined whether listeners use information about a speaker’s native language to help them understand that speaker’s accented English. The test case for this scenario was word-final obstruent devoicing in German and German-accented speech. Results showed that participants did not generalize their knowledge cross-linguistically. In Experiment 2, we used a categorization task and an eye-tracking visual world paradigm to investigate listeners’ use of a position-sensitive allophonic alternation, the velarization of /l/, as a word segmentation cue in native English. Participants were able to use velarization as a cue during word segmentation, even though they also showed a later, post-perceptual bias to segment /l/ as word initial. Follow-up experiments will build upon these conclusions using German-accented speech as stimuli, which will have reduced or absent velarization of /l/ in word-final position. In sum, these experiments inform us about the limits of phonological knowledge about foreign-accented speech.

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