Age Estimation in Foreign-accented Speech by Native and Non-native Speakers

Gnevsheva, Ksenia and Bürkle, Daniel Matthias orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5531-2122 (2020) Age Estimation in Foreign-accented Speech by Native and Non-native Speakers. Language and Speech, 63 (1). pp. 166-183. ISSN 0023-8309

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Current research shows that listeners are generally accurate at estimating speakers’ age from their speech. This study investigates the effect of speaker first language and the role played by such speaker characteristics as fundamental frequency and speech rate. In this study English and Japanese first language speakers listened to English- and Japanese-accented English speech and estimated the speaker’s age. We find the highest correlation between real and estimated speaker age for English listeners listening to English speakers, followed by Japanese listeners listening to both English and Japanese speakers, with English listeners listening to Japanese speakers coming last. We find that Japanese speakers are estimated to be younger than the English speakers by English listeners, and that both groups of listeners estimate male speakers and speakers with a lower mean fundamental frequency to be older. These results suggest that listeners rely on sociolinguistic information in their speaker age estimations and language familiarity plays a role in their success.

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