Speakers subconsciously alter their pronunciation towards that of their conversation partner through a process called spontaneous phonetic imitation. Previous research has shown that this imitation may not be a completely automatic process. One factor that may influence the extent of imitation is social biases based on gender, age, or region. The current study used a lexical shadowing task to determine if speakers would spontaneously imitate American English vowel variants that were not found in their native dialect. Results showed that in the non-interactive task, regionally distinct vowels were significantly imitated. Furthermore, the level of imitation was not related to previous familiarity or experience with the dialect in question.
Dossey, Ellen E., "Spontaneous Phonetic Imitation Across Regional Dialects" (2012). Linguistics Honors Projects. 8.
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