Séminaire de Mélanie Lancien, de l’université de Lausanne


Date : 03/12/2021
Heure : 11h00
Lieu : IC2, Salle des conseils, online
Intervenante : Mélanie Lancien


Extending the study of speech accommodation: the relationship between hypospeech and speakers’ social proximity


In linguistics, work on speech variation, mainly that in line with the H&H (Hyper-Hypoarticulation Theory) and CAT (Communication Accommodation Theory) frameworks, is increasingly interested in the adaptation of speech to the speaker’s environment, and, most recently, the identity of the interlocutor (Koppen et al. 2017, Pardo et al. 2012, among others). These studies show a trend toward changes in the rate and spectral characteristics of speech (especially vowels) related to the relationship between speakers.

Our work proposes a new procedure to experimentally test the effect of the interlocutor on one’s speech by using the Diapix task (Baker & Hazan 2011) to make 10 couples of Québec French speakers interact together, and with two strangers: one French and one Québécois. We want to propose both an experimental setting, and a way to automatically process the data, including a new tool adapted for Quebec French processing (based on SPPAS, see BIgi, 2012 & Lancien et al, 2020) and a new method for pruning (such datasets are often messy and extreme values due to errors in formant detection or automatic segmentation must be filtered).

Through the analysis ((G)LMM and clustering) of our corpus of 27h of speech and more than 140,000 vowels, we study spectral variations (especially hyper-hypoarticulation) and changes in speech rate depending on the interlocutor. Our results reveal a correlation between the degree of social distance and speech reduction: the closer the interlocutors are (partners), the more speech is reduced; for some metrics we also observe changes linked to the interlocutors’ geographical origins.