Globalization has led to more interaction between native English speakers and people of diverse linguistic backgrounds than ever before, increasing the probability for native English speakers to encounter speakers with nonnative accents. Nonnative accented speech is associated with an increase in listening effort for native English-speaking listeners, even if the accented speech is perfectly intelligible. A completely different factor associated with decreasing listening effort is having a redundant semantic context. For example the word “stamp” is easier to hear when preceded by “They mailed the letter without a…” The current work examines the relationship between speaker accent and semantic context. Participants performed a task where phrases at varying semantic context levels were randomly stopped for recall. Phrases were spoken by a native English-accented speaker, a Hindi-accented speaker, and a Chinese-accented speaker. Results will be discussed in terms of their applicability to two different theoretical frameworks for understanding interactions between listening effort and speech processing: the Ease of Language Understanding Model and the Effortfulness Hypothesis. These two models primarily differ in the extent to which they predict an interaction between speaker accent and semantic context.
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