Dominic Watt (University of York)
3 juin 2019, 14h au Laboratoire Parole et Langage
Sounds familiar! Identifying individual talkers is easier if they have the same local accent as the listener
Accent familiarity is known to affect the accuracy with which listeners identify individual talkers in speaker identification tasks. Speakers with familiar regional accents are identified more reliably by listeners than are speakers who use less familiar accents (the so-called ‘other-accent effect’), in the same way that listeners are poorer at identifying speakers of unfamiliar foreign languages than familiar ones (the ‘language familiarity effect’). In this talk, I describe an experiment designed to investigate whether the other-accent effect is observed when listeners are asked to identify speakers of localised subvarieties of a regional accent, that of the North-East of England (Braun et al. 2018). Listeners from the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland and Middlesbrough heard one of three target-present voice parades composed of samples of the speech of people from the same three locales. Target speakers from the same city as the listener were identified correctly significantly more often than were speakers of the other two accents, revealing that the ‘other-accent’ effect holds even across very small geographical distances (Newcastle and Sunderland are only 17km apart, for instance). I discuss the implications of this finding for the construction of voice parades in forensic cases where the witness has a different local accent from that of the suspect and foils whose speech is represented in the parade.
Braun, A., Llamas, C., Watt, D., French, P. & Robertson, D. (2018). Sub-regional ‘other-accent’ effects on lay listeners’ speaker identification abilities: A voice line-up study with speakers and listeners from the North East of England. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 25(2): 231-255.