Scaling of apparent accentedness by magnitude estimation and sensory modality matching
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In each of three experiments, 24 students judged the accentedness present in the speech of eight Spanish-English bilinguals. Ss gave magnitude estimations and also squeezed a hand dynamometer to indicate the amount of accentedness in the reading of an English passage by each of the speakers. There was significant agreement among Ss regarding the speech samples with each scaling method, and interscale agreement was good. Power functions fitted to the data had exponents falling in the range expected from earlier psychophysical studies. Scale values correlated significantly with the frequency of accented pronunciations by the speakers as judged by two independent judges. The use of these scaling methods for future research on linguistic features of accent and on the relation between accent and language attitudes is discussed.
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