Accent attribution in speakers with foreign accent syndrome
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Journal of communication disorders. - Amsterdam
, p. 156-168
University of Antwerp
Purpose: The main aim of this experiment was to investigate the perception of Foreign Accent Syndrome in comparison to speakers with an authentic 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 listening panels differed in their familiarity with foreign accented speech and speech pathology. Results: The findings indicate that listeners perceptual responses to the three groups of speakers were essentially different at all levels of analysis. The native speaker controls were unequivocally recognized as native speakers of Dutch while the speakers with a real foreign accent were very reliably assessed as non-native speakers. The speakers with Foreign Accent Syndrome, however, were 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. These results are accounted for in terms of a misinterpretation of markers of speech pathology as markers regional affiliation. Conclusions: The findings of the experiment are consistent with the idea that the very nature of the foreign accent is different in both groups of speakers, although it cannot be fully excluded that the foreign impression in the two groups is one of degree.