The effect of removing linguistic information upon identifying speakers of a foreign language
Keywords:forensic phonetics, speaker identification, native-language background, voice line-ups, memory for voices.
AbstractThe native-language background of a listener has been shown to have an effect upon identifying speakers of a foreign language. Previous experimental research showed that a German target speaker was identified significantly better when listeners were native speakers of German, or native speakers of English who had some knowledge of German, than when they did not know the language of the target speaker (Schiller and Köster 1996). This result was taken as support for the hypothesis that familiarity with the language of the target speaker has a positive effect upon identifying that speaker. This paper reports the results of a follow-up experiment that investigated the identification of a speaker in a voice line-up using nonsense speech. The results show that German natives, monolingual English natives, and English natives with some knowledge of German do not significantly differ in identifying a German speaker when most of the linguistic information of the language of the target speaker is removed from the stimulus materials.
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