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Accent attribution in speakers with Foreign Accent Syndrome

Verhoeven, J., De Pauw, G., Pettinato, M. , Hirson, A., Van Borsel, J. & Marien, P. (2013). Accent attribution in speakers with Foreign Accent Syndrome. Journal of Communication Disorders, 46(2), pp. 156-168. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2013.02.001


Purpose: The main aim of this experiment was to establish the extent to which the impression of foreignness in speakers with Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) is in any way comparable to the impression of foreignness in speakers with a real foreign accent.

Method: Three groups of listeners attributed accents to conversational speech samples of 5 FAS speakers which were embedded amongst those of 5 speakers with a real foreign accent and 5 native speaker controls. The listener groups differed in their familiarity with foreign accented speech and speech pathology.

Results: The findings indicate that listeners’ perceptual reactions to the three groups of speakers are essentially different at all levels of analysis. The native speaker controls are unequivocally considered as native speakers of Dutch while the speakers with a real foreign accent are very reliably assessed as non-native speakers. The speakers with Foreign Accent Syndrome, however, are in some sense perceived as foreign and in some sense as native by listeners, but not as foreign as speakers with a real foreign accent nor as native as real native speakers. This result may be accounted for in terms of the trigger support model of foreign accent perception.

Conclusions: The findings of the experiment is consistent with the idea that the very nature of the foreign accent in different in both groups of speakers, although it cannot be fully excluded that the perceived foreignness in the two groups is one of degree.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Foreign Accent Syndrome; Accent attribution; Speech perception
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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