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LINGUIST List 18.1370

Mon May 07 2007

Diss: Phonetics/Socioling: Nagao: 'Cross-language Study of Age Perc...'

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        1.    Kyoko Nagao, Cross-language Study of Age Perception


Message 1: Cross-language Study of Age Perception
Date: 04-May-2007
From: Kyoko Nagao <knagaoindiana.edu>
Subject: Cross-language Study of Age Perception


Institution: Indiana University
Program: Department of Spanish
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Kyoko Nagao

Dissertation Title: Cross-language Study of Age Perception

Dissertation URL: http://mypage.iu.edu/~knagao/papers/Nagao_2006_thesis.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics
                            Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Karen Forrest
Diane Kewley-Port
Robert F. Port
Kenneth de Jong

Dissertation Abstract:

A number of studies have shown that listeners can estimate the age of
talkers quite accurately by listening to speech alone. However, the effects
of native language on age perception have not yet been explored. The
current study examined the effects of listener's language familiarity on
the perception of a talker's age in the three linguistic contexts varying
the amount of information, i.e., vowel, phrase, and sentence. Two groups of
listeners (English and Japanese) estimated the age of talkers whose native
language were matched or mismatched with the listener's. Furthermore, in
order to investigate the effect of age stereotypes in each language, the
same listeners estimated the age of talkers who disguised themselves as 20
year older or younger than their age.

Results indicated that listener's estimation of talker's age improved when
more information was available. The listeners estimated the age of talkers
more accurately in the familiar language than the foreign language. Better
age estimation was found for female talkers than male talkers, but the
effect of talker's sex only appeared in the age estimation in the familiar
language. Results of age estimation for age-disguised speech revealed that
both language groups in this investigation have similar age stereotypes.
These results suggested that the age-related speech characteristics are
based on both on physiological factors and linguistic variation, variation
that a non-native listener does not have access to. Results also suggest
that there exists an underlying perceptual mechanism for identifying the
age that is common across languages.





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