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Author Notes:

Correspondence: alexander.jed@gmail.com

Portions of this work were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Boston, Massachusetts and were based on Jessica Alexander's doctoral dissertation.

We thank Laura Namy, Donald Tuten, Harold Gouzoules, and Stella Lourenco for helpful comments on this research. We also thank Kathy Jernigan, Melanie Hammet, Melanie Tumlin, and Sabrina Sidaras for their labor and sage advice.


Research Funding:

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (Grant No. DC008108).


  • perceptual adaptation
  • foreign-accented speech
  • pronunciation
  • word-length utterance
  • English
  • Korean-accent
  • Spanish-accent
  • mixed-accent
  • acoustic properties
  • linguistic form

Specificity and generalization in perceptual adaptation to accented speech


Journal Title:

JASA: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America


Volume 145, Number 6


, Pages 3382-3398

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


The present study investigated the degree to which perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented speech is specific to the regularities in pronunciation associated with a particular accent. Across experiments, the conditions under which generalization of learning did or did not occur were evaluated. In Experiment 1, listeners trained on word-length utterances in Korean-accented English and tested with words produced by the same or different set of Korean-accented speakers. Listeners performed better than untrained controls when tested with novel words from the same or different speakers. In Experiment 2, listeners were trained with Spanish-, Korean-, or mixed-accented speech and transcribed novel words produced by unfamiliar Korean- or Spanish-accented speakers at test. The findings revealed relative specificity of learning. Listeners trained and tested on the same variety of accented speech showed better transcription at test than those trained with a different accent or untrained controls. Performance after mixed-accent training was intermediate. Patterns of errors and analysis of acoustic properties for accented vowels suggested perceptual improvement for regularities arising from each accent, with learning dependent on the relative similarity of linguistic form within and across accents. © 2019 Acoustical Society of America.

Copyright information:

© 2019 Acoustical Society of America.

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