The influence of language background and exposure on phonetic accommodation

Naomi Enzinna


This study examines whether language background, short-term exposure to monolingual and bilingual speech, and long-term exposure to monolingual and bilingual speech influences speech accommodation. To address this question, I examine whether English monolinguals and Spanish-English bilinguals, either from a predominately monolingual community or a predominately bilingual community, vary their speech when interacting with a monolingual English speaker versus a Spanish-English bilingual speaker. Additionally, I examine whether speakers are more likely to converge after being primed with monolingual English or Spanish-English bilingual speech. To test this, participants complete an interactive communication task, where they are presented with a 6x6 board on a computer screen and asked questions about the words on the board, which contain variables that differ in English and Spanish. Results show that both language background and long-term exposure to monolingual or bilingual speech in a speaker’s speech community influence accommodation.


accommodation; voice onset time; VOT; exposure; priming; speech community; bilingualism; Miami; Spanish; English; referential communication task

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