LINGUIST List 14.1279

Tue May 6 2003

Diss: Phonology, Spanish/English: Shah

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. amee.shah, Temporal Characteristics of Spanish-Accented English

Message 1: Temporal Characteristics of Spanish-Accented English

Date: Thu, 01 May 2003 17:58:04 +0000
From: amee.shah <>
Subject: Temporal Characteristics of Spanish-Accented English

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: City University of New York
Program: Speech and Hearing Sciences
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Amee P Shah 

Dissertation Title: Temporal Characteristics of Spanish-Accented
English: Acoustic Measures and Their Correlation with Accented Ratings

Linguistic Field: Phonology
		 Language Acquisition
		 General Linguistics
		 Applied Linguistics

Subject Language: Spanish (code: SPN)
		 English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: Winifred Strange
Dissertation Director 2: Lawrence Raphael
Dissertation Director 3: Loraine K Obler
Dissertation Director 4: Catherine Best

Dissertation Abstract: 

This study was designed to identify acoustic parameters of
Spanish-accented English that give it the perception of being
"accented." Recordings of eight multisyllabic (3, 4, and 5 syllable)
target words spoken in sentences by 22 Spanish speakers of English and
five native speakers of American English (AE) were analyzed for
temporal acoustic differences. Temporal characteristics of Spanish
productions, including overall word duration, unstressed vowel
duration, stressed-unstressed (S/U) vowel duration ratios, Voice Onset
Time (VOT) and closure duration in intervocalic flaps/stops, differed
systematically from native productions. Recordings of the sentences
and excised target words were presented to native (AE) listeners
(N=10) who judged the degree of accentedness on a 9-point
scale. Degree of accentedness of target words correlated strongly (r =
+0.82) with accentedness ratings for the eight sentences (used as a
measure of 'global' accentedness.) Spearman rank-order correlations of
overall word duration and native listener ratings of accentedness of
target words varied from +0.04 to +0.56. Correlations of S/U vowel
duration ratios and ratings of accentedness of target words varied
from '0.01 to +0.35.' VOT duration of initial voiceless /k/ (but not
/p/) stops correlated positively with accentedness ratings (+0.26 to
+0.36). Closure duration of intervocalic /t/ yielded positive
correlations with perceived accentedness (+0.29 to +0.59). Overall,
results suggest that Spanish-accented English is characterized by
systematic temporal differences from native American English, and that
these temporal differences contribute to the perception of
accentedness as judged by native American English listeners.
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