School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Tracking vowel categorization behaviour longitudinally: a study across three x three year increments (2012, 2015, 2018)
    Loakes, D ; Escudero, P ; Clothier, J ; Hajek, J ; Calhoun, S ; Escudero, P ; TABAIN, M ; Warren, P (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc., 2019)
    Longitudinal data provide a unique opportunity to address questions around language change, and speaker/listener behaviour. Processing behaviour is considered subject to change over time, but it remains an open question as to over what time period incremental changes might occur. This study compares responses to a forced-choice listening test over three x three-year increments (2012, 2015, 2018), from a set of the same ten mainstream Australian English listeners. The listeners are from a small town (Warrnambool, Australia), where crucially, a distinction between /el/-/æl/ is lost for many. Here we focus on the contrasts between /ɪ e æ/ in /hVt/ and /CVL/ environments. Despite our predictions, overall results show that the increments, which span six years in total, are too small for any changes to arise. This study contributes to our understanding of longitudinal processing behaviour, showing overall consistency across 2012-2018, even in the context of a merger in-progress.
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    Sociophonetic variablity of postvocalic /t/ in Aboriginal and mainstream Australian English
    Loakes, D ; McDougall, K ; Clothier, J ; Hajek, J ; Fletcher, J ; Epps, J ; Wolfe, J ; Smith, J ; Jones, C (ASSTA, 2018)
    This paper analyses post-vocalic /t/ variability in controlled speech across two groups, both L1 Aboriginal English and mainstream Australian English speakers. Data were collected in Warrnambool, a small community in western Victoria (Australia). While both Aboriginal English and mainstream Australian English speakers used canonical aspirated [tʰ] a range of other variants were observed. The Aboriginal English group used a greater number of variants overall, and tended toward “glottal” variants (full glottal stops, pre-glottalised stops, and ejective-like stops) whereas the mainstream Australian group preferred so-called “breathy” variants (affricates, fricatives); we attribute this to sociophonetic variability, potentially linked with voice quality and glottal timing. Overall, the study highlights some previously undocumented variation both within L1 Aboriginal English, and between L1 Aboriginal English and mainstream Australian English.
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    Can you t[ae]ll I'm from M[ae]lbourne? An overview of the DRESS and TRAP vowels before /l/ as a regional accent marker in Australian English
    Loakes, D ; Hajek, J ; Fletcher, J (John Benjamins Publishing, 2017-01-01)
    This study gives an overview of the merger of the DRESS and TRAP vowels before laterals, which occurs for some speakers of Australian English in the state of Victoria (in the south-east of the country), as well as in some other varieties of English. Research on this phenomenon in Australian English has been preliminary to date, but has uncovered some general tendencies in distribution, as well as possible motivators for actuation and spread of the change. The aim of this paper is to describe and orient the phenomenon in the context of English worldwide, and while we work with some illustrative experimental data, our aim is not to provide a detailed quantitative sociophonetic perspective here. This paper further aims to illustrate the extent of the variability seen in the Australian English community with respect to ongoing change.
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    /æl/-/el/ transposition in Australian English: Hypercorrection or a competing sound change?
    Loakes, DE ; Hajek, JT ; Fletcher, J (City University of Hong Kong, 2011)
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    Vowel perception in Victoria: variability, confusability and listener expectation
    Loakes, DE ; GRAETZER, N ; Hajek, JT ; Fletcher, J (Macquarie University, 2012)
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    An Investigation of the /el/-/ae l/ Merger in Australian English: A Pilot Study on Production and Perception in South-West Victoria
    Loakes, D ; Clothier, J ; Hajek, J ; Fletcher, J (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2014-01-01)
    This exploratory study looks at evidence of merger between /el/ and /æl/ in Australian English, and the possible relationship between production and perception that might be involved in such a process. This merger appears to occur primarily in Victoria, although its regional distribution within that state still requires investigation. The phenomenon appears to be motivated by the interaction of three different phonetic processes: increasing lateral velarization; increasing vowel lowering; and misperception/misparsing of the phonetic signal. We focus here on the behaviour of a sample of native speakers from Warrnambool, a regional township in south-west Victoria. Given evidence that some speakers merge the vowels in /el/ and /æl/ while others do not, our participants are categorized as maintainers (those who keep /el/–/æl/ distinct) and combiners (those who merge /el/–/æl/), and we compare how the groups process /el/–/æl/ in perception. Overall results point to an association, according to category, between listeners' own production and perception of /el/–/æl/ in an identification task, although individual variability is also evident and needs to be understood.
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    Identifying /el/-/æl/: A comparison between two regional Australian towns
    Loakes, D ; Hajek, J ; Clothier, J ; Fletcher, J ; Hay, J ; Parnell, E (University of Canterbury, 2014)
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    Short vowels in L1 Aboriginal English spoken in Western Victoria
    LOAKES, D ; Fletcher, J ; Hajek, J ; Clothier, J ; Volchok, B ; Carignan, C ; Tyler, MD (Causal Productions, 2016-12-16)
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    (Mis)perceiving /el/ ~ /æl/ in Melbourne English: a micro-analysis of sound perception and change
    Loakes, DEL ; Hajek, JTH ; Fletcher, JF (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Australia (ASSTA), 2010)
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    A Blueprint for a Comprehensive Australian English Auditory-Visual Speech Corpus
    Burnham, D ; Ambikairajah, E ; Arciuli, J ; Bennamoun, M ; Best, CT ; Bird, S ; Butcher, AR ; Cassidy, S ; Chetty, G ; Cox, FM ; Cutler, A ; Dale, R ; Epps, JR ; Fletcher, JM ; Goecke, R ; Grayden, DB ; Hajek, JT ; Ingram, JC ; Ishihara, S ; Kemp, N ; Kinoshita, Y ; Kuratate, T ; Lewis, TW ; Loakes, DE ; Onslow, M ; Powers, DM ; Rose, P ; Togneri, R ; Tran, D ; Wagner, M (Cascadilla Press, 2009)
    Contemporary speech science is driven by the availability of large, diverse speech corpora. Such infrastructure underpins research and technological advances in various practical, socially beneficial and economically fruitful endeavours, from ASR to hearing prostheses. Unfortunately, speech corpora are not easy to come by because they are both expensive to collect and are not favoured by the usual funding sources as their collection per se does not fall under the classification of ‘research’. Nevertheless they provide the sine qua non for many avenues of research endeavour in speech science. The only publicly available Australian speech corpus is the 12-year-old Australian National Database of Spoken Language (ANDOSL) database (see http://andosl.anu.edu.au/; Millar, Dermody, Harrington, & Vonwillar, 1990), which is now outmoded due to its small number of participants, just a single recording session per speaker, low fidelity, audio-only rather than AV data, its lack of disordered speech, and limited coverage of indigenous and ethnocultural Australian English (AusE) variants. There are more up-to-date UK and US English language corpora, but these are mostly audio-only, and use of these for AusE purposes is not optimal, and results in inaccuracies.