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Perceptive evaluation of Levenshtein dialect distance measurements using Norwegian dialect data

  • Charlotte Gooskens (a1) and Wilbert Heeringa (a1)

The Levenshtein dialect distance method has proven to be a successful method for measuring phonetic distances between Dutch dialects. The aim of the present investigation is to validate the Levenshtein dialect distance with perceptual data from a language area other than the Dutch, namely Norway. We calculate the correlation between the Levenshtein distances and the distances between 15 Norwegian dialects as judged by Norwegian listeners. We carry out this analysis to see the degree to which the average Levenshtein distances correspond to the psychoacoustic perception of the speakers of the dialects.The present article reports on part of a study supported by NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. We are grateful for the permission from Kristian Skarbø and Jørn Almberg to use their material and for the help of Jørn Almberg during the whole investigation. We thank Saakje van Dellen for her obliging help with the data entry and Peter Kleiweg for letting us use the programs that he developed for the visualization of the maps and dendrograms in this article. Finally, we would like to thank John Nerbonne for valuable comments and for correcting our English.

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Omdal, Helge. (1995). Attitudes toward spoken and written Norwegian. International Journal of the Sociology of Language115:85106.

Sokal, R. R., & Rohlf, F. J. (1962). The comparison of dendrograms by objective methods. Taxon11:3340.

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Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
  • URL: /core/journals/language-variation-and-change
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