Conversational Role Influences Speech Imitation

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This study assessed the impact of a conscious imitation goal on phonetic convergence during conversational interaction. Twelve pairs of unacquainted talkers participated in a conversational task designed to elicit between-talker repetitions of the same lexical items. To assess the degree to which the talkers exhibited phonetic convergence during the conversational task, these repetitions were used to elicit perceptual similarity judgments provided by separate sets of listeners. In addition, perceptual measures of phonetic convergence were compared with measures of articulation rates and vowel formants. The sex of the pair of talkers and a talker's role influenced the degree of phonetic convergence, and perceptual judgments of phonetic convergence were not consistently related to individual acoustic-phonetic attributes. Therefore, even with a conscious imitative goal, situational factors were shown to retain a strong influence on phonetic form in conversational interaction.



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