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Saturday, October 12 • 3:40pm - 5:30pm
(I2) Weirich: Perceptual categorization of regional varieties of English in Indiana

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Perceptual categorization of regional varieties of English in Indiana

Indiana is a state crossed by four dialect regions including the North, Inland North, Midland, and South. This study explores how well people in Indiana can identify talkers from these regions. In a four-alternative forced-choice task, 108 participants from four dialect regions in Indiana listened to 24 female talkers from six parts of Indiana and indicated which dialect region they believed each talker was from. Categorization accuracy for all participants was consistent and comparable to other studies in the United States but still relatively poor at 29%. Listeners were most accurate when presented with talkers from their own dialect region, and accuracy decreased the further the talkers' dialect region was from the listeners' region. The results of the study supplement the current understanding of the nature of mental representations of dialects; direct experience with dialects depends on physical proximity, and dialect categories have different specificity, from general to specific.


Phillip Weirich

Indiana University Bloomington

Saturday October 12, 2019 3:40pm - 5:30pm PDT
EMU Ballroom