This study, a secondary analysis of data from a phonetic accommodation study, considers the default behaviour of speakers in accommodating to another speaker in an interaction. Should convergence or maintenance be considered the default behaviour? There is inherent acoustic variation in our speech. Every time we produce a sound, such as a voiceless stop in English, it varies along some phonetic dimension, such as voice onset time (VOT). We might expect that, in the absence of any external influence, these voiceless stops will be realized with VOT longer than their overall mean 50% of the time and with VOT shorter than their overall mean 50% of the time. During interaction with another person, however, studies in social-psychology have suggested that lack of adjustment (maintenance) may be akin to divergence (Tong et al. 1999). In addition, convergence is a fairly robust finding in studies of accommodation and imitation (e.g. Nielsen 2011; Babel 2012), suggesting that perhaps the default behaviour in interaction is convergence. The purpose of this talk is to introduce these points of view, discuss the factors that may affect our interpretation, and facilitate discussion on this issue, which has implications for the growing body of research investigating accommodation.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4800626
Conference 21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Citation
MacLeod, B. (2013). What is the default behaviour in accommodation: Convergence or maintenance?. Presented at the 21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. doi:10.1121/1.4800626