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Regional differences in the perception of a consonant change in progress

  • Anne-France Pinget (a1), René Kager (a1) and Hans Van de Velde (a2)

This study aims at testing whether there are regional differences in the perception of the labiodental fricative contrast in Dutch. Previous production studies have shown that the devoicing of initial labiodental fricatives is a change in progress in the Dutch language area. We present the results of a speeded identification task in which fricative stimuli were systematically varied for two phonetic cues, voicing and duration. Listeners (n=100) were regionally stratified, and the regions (k=5) reflect different stages of this sound change in progress. Voicing turned out to be the strongest categorization cue in all regions; duration only played a minor role. Regional differences showed up in the perception of the consonantal contrast that matched regional differences in production reported in previous studies. The addition of random slopes in the mixed model regression showed the importance of within-regional variation.

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Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Anne-France Pinget,, Tel: +31 30 253 6049, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Universiteit Utrecht, Trans 10, 3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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