Variation of glottal activity in French accent imitation produced by native Germans


  • Sara Neuhauser Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena



voice disguise, foreign accent imitation, glottal behaviour


This study is part of a project concerning phonetic and linguistic aspects of foreign accent imitation as a form of voice disguise. The main focus is on the detection of variation of particular phonetic parameters in German with an imitated French accent produced by native Germans and with an authentic French accent produced by native French speakers. Previous analyses suggested that variation of glottal behavior during accent imitation is possible but the fine adjustment seems to be extremely complex which might be helpful to distinguish between authentic and non-authentic French accents in German. Since glottal activity in syllable onsets differs in French compared to German, the present paper specifically investigates two forms of glottal variation: the realisation of junctural glottalisation and the realisation glottal friction (/h/). The study’s native German speakers rarely showed consistent and specific variation in the realisation of vowel junctures during French accent imitation. However, avoidance of /h/ and replacement by glottalisation were common features in their imitated French accents. The results further suggest that the competence of native French speakers in German as L2 might often be underestimated and patterns, such as junctural glottalisation and glottal friction seem to be well established.

Author Biography

Sara Neuhauser, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena

Sara Neuhauser has a PhD in German linguistics from the University of Jena, Germany. In her thesis she worked on phonetic and linguistic aspects of accent imitation in a forensic context. Currently she is the scientific coordinator of the Frege Centre for Structural Sciences and teaches phonetics and phonology at the Institute of German Linguistics at the University of Jena.



How to Cite

Neuhauser, S. (2011). Variation of glottal activity in French accent imitation produced by native Germans. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 18(2), 207–231.