[language] [Fwd: Accents have advantages]

H.M. Hubey hubeyh at mail.montclair.edu
Mon Sep 8 18:42:18 UTC 2003

<><><><><><><><><><><><>--This is the Language List--<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[evol-psych] Accents have advantages
Date: 	Mon, 08 Sep 2003 19:21:47 +0100
From: 	Ian Pitchford <ian.pitchford at scientist.com>
Reply-To: 	Ian Pitchford <ian.pitchford at scientist.com>
Organization: 	http://human-nature.com
To: 	evolutionary-psychology at yahoogroups.com

Nature Science Update

Accents have advantages
A foreign tongue can be easier to understand in the mouth of a non-native.
8 September 2003

People speaking English as a second language find each other just as
intelligible as they do native English speakers, US linguists have found. The
effect works regardless of the speaker's mother tongue.

It isn't hard to see why a Korean, say, might find another Korean's English
easier to follow than an English person's. The two share a phonetic vocabulary
lacking some of the vocal effects that render the language alien in a native's
mouth. A foreign accent hinders a native but helps a fellow non-native.

But what about speakers with different first languages? One might suspect that
only some languages, like Korean and Chinese, or Spanish and Italian, share
sounds that help their mutual intelligibility. But that doesn't seem to be so.

Instead, there may be features of the target language that all non-natives
omit, suggest Tessa Bent and Ann Bradlow from Northwestern University in
Illinois1. American English speakers often fail to sound consonants at the ends
of words clearly, for example, making it hard for non-natives to tell one word
from another.

Received pronunciation

It is often claimed that two non-natives communicate more easily in a second
language than either would with someone born speaking that language. That's to
say, Romanians might find Romanian-accented English more intelligible than
native English.

But there's been little hard evidence to support this. What's more, little is
known about what happens when non-native talkers have different first
languages, says Bent and Bradlow.

Full text

Human Nature Review http://human-nature.com
Evolutionary Psychology http://human-nature.com/ep
Human Nature Daily Review http://human-nature.com/nibbs

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

M. Hubey
hubeyh at mail.montclair.edu

Copyrights/"Fair Use":  http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html
The "fair use" exemption to copyright law was created to allow things
such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education
about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. That's
important so that copyright law doesn't block your freedom to express
your own works -- only the ability to express other people's.
Intent, and damage to the commercial value of the work are
important considerations.

You are currently subscribed to language as: language at listserv.linguistlist.org
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-language-4283Y at csam-lists.montclair.edu
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/language/attachments/20030908/b106ab85/attachment.html>

More information about the Language mailing list