Regional priming in Australian English KIT, DRESS and TRAP vowels
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 13:15 by Michael Stuart Walker
The presence of culturally significant objects has been shown to induce perceptual biases in speech that are consistent with features of the implied dialect. This thesis details a pseudo-replication of Hay and Drager’s (2010) stuffed toy study in an Australian context. 43 participants heard phrases of spoken Australian English (AusE) with a phrase-final word containing either a KIT, DRESS or TRAP target vowel. Each phrase was followed by audio presentation of a continuum consisting of six synthesised variants of the speaker’s target vowel, from New Zealand English (NZE)-like to exaggerated AusE. Participants selected the synthesised variant they believed best matched the speaker’s realisation of the target vowel. Participants were exposed to either one of two priming conditions, established by stuffed toy kiwis (New Zealand) and stuffed toy koalas (Australia), or a control. The priming effect observed in Hay and Drager (2010) was not found. Token selections did not differ significantly between the two priming conditions, even for participants who had indicated frequent exposure to NZE. It is suggested that the influence of regional priming on speech perception may be more limited than previously thought, however findings also raise questions inherent to the task design itself.