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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



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.


First Advisor

Alexana Jesse