Colloquium, 03/18 – Jessamyn Schertz

The next talk of the 2021-2022 McGill Linguistics Colloquium Series will be held on Friday, March 18th at 3:30pm. The talk will be given by Jessamyn Schertz (University of Toronto).
Title: Underpinnings of phonetic imitation
Abstract: Phonetic imitation is a complex behavior, requiring accurate perception, identification, and (re-)production of relevant features. In this talk, I will present data from the initial stages of a project designed to explore the linguistic and cognitive processes governing accent imitation. Using a paradigm designed to examine both explicit imitation and perception of artificial “accents” differing in a single feature (voice onset time), we test the relative roles of perceptual and articulatory sub-components in predicting individual variability in imitative ability. In addition, we explore factors that may constrain imitation, including the presence of talker variability and the linguistic status of the relevant feature. Finally, we give examples of how the paradigm is currently being used for systematic comparisons of imitation across different linguistic features (e.g. aspiration vs. prevoicing vs. vowel quality) and populations (e.g. teens vs adults; different language backgrounds), as a step toward a fuller understanding of imitation and the factors that facilitate and constrain it.
As usual, if you haven’t registered for the colloquium series you can do so here.

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