Dynamics of short-term cross-dialectal accommodation
A study on Grison and Zurich German
Keywords:Phonetic Convergence, Speech Rhythm, Dialects in Contact, Speech Production
This study investigates whether rhythmic features are object of accommodation between Grison and Zurich German (henceforth GRG and ZHG) speakers, insomuch as it was previously observed for vowel formants. Cross-dialectal rhythmic accommodation and its evoking/inhibiting factors (e.g., acoustic distance vs dialect markedness, new vs previously heard words) were examined in a corpus of pre- and post-dialogue recordings, performed by 18 pairs of GRG and ZHG speakers. Three rhythmic measures were designed which were based on cross-dialectal timing differences related to intervocalic sonorants gemination, open syllable lengthening and reduction of word-final vowels. Rhythmic accommodation was quantified measuring the acoustic distance in the realization of the three durational contrasts before and after dialogical interactions. Results revealed that, unlike vowel formants, rhythmic features did not evoke cross-dialectal adjustments under the given experimental circumstances.
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