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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jonathan Dalby


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

University Affiliation

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne


The study seeks to compare and contrast how voiced and voiceless stops differ in voice onset time (VOT) between the phonetic productions of a native English speaker and a native Spanish speaker who learned English as an adult. The hypothesis tested is that there will be differences in VOT between native and non-native speech and that this difference will have a noticeable effect on the identification of these words by English listeners. Minimal pairs of words containing the stops /p, b, t, d, k, g/ were compared. The two speakers were recorded reciting 10 randomized tokens of each of the six words ‘peak,’ ‘beak,’ ‘tuck,’ ‘duck,’ ‘coat’ and ‘goat.’ The experiment data was collected by measuring the speakers’ voice onset time using WaveSurfer software. This was done by comparing the measurements made from wide band spectrograms. A significant duration difference in average VOT was found. To test the effects of this difference on perception of these stops, native English-speaking listeners were presented with the recorded words and asked to identify what word they heard, in a two alternative, forced choice task. Results of the listening test showed that the differences in VOT between native and accented speech did affect listener perception of these consonants. For the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ the shorter VOT’s produced by the accented speaker (which were similar to the durations of these stops in Spanish) often led English listeners to hear the voiced stops /b, d, g/.


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Medicine and Health Sciences

A Voice Onset Time Comparison of English and Spanish Stop Consonant Productions: Perception of Foreign Accent