University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


Numerous studies have documented the phenomenon of phonetic convergence: the process by which speakers alter their productions to become more similar on some phonetic or acoustic dimension to those of their interlocutor. Though social factors have been suggested as a motivator for imitation, few studies have established a tight connection between these extralinguistic factors and a speaker’s likelihood to imitate. The present study explores the effects of perceived sexual orientation and speaker attitude toward the interlocutor on the likelihood of imitation for extended VOT. Experimental results show that the extent of phonetic convergence (and divergence) depends on the perceived sexual orientation of the talker as well as whether the speaker is positively disposed to the interlocutor.



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