Non-adaptative and adaptive phonetic variation | L2 speech and clear speech - Speaker: Ann Bradlow

Ann Bradlow
Linguistics Department, Northwestern University, USA

Two independent lines of research have revealed a somewhat surprising convergence between second-language (L2) speech and “Clear” speech, the style of speech that talkers spontaneously adopt when they are aware of a listener-dependent communication barrier (e.g. a listener with hearing loss or from a different language background).  Specifically, both L2 speech and Clear speech exhibit slow speaking rates (fewer syllables produced per second) combined with various other phonetic adjustments that result in lower information density (less segment- and syllable-level phonetic reduction).  However, while Clear speech is a highly effective strategy for enhancing overall intelligibility, L2 speech is typically characterized by greater likelihood of listener errors in word recognition accuracy.  I will present a series of studies demonstrating these similarities and differences between L2 speech and Clear speech, and will consider some of the theoretical and practical implications of this convergent-divergent pattern of phonetic variation for these two distinct speaking styles.