The effect of removing linguistic information upon identifying speakers of a foreign language

Authors

  • Niels O. Schiller Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
  • Olaf Köster University of Trier
  • Martin Duckworth The College of St Mark & St John

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v4i1.1

Keywords:

forensic phonetics, speaker identification, native-language background, voice line-ups, memory for voices.

Abstract

The 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.

Author Biographies

Niels O. Schiller, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

NIELS O. SCHILLER received his MA in phonetics, German philology and computational linguistics from the University of Trier in 1994. In 1994 he was awarded a scholarship from the German Max Planck Society. He is now working on his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His research interests include speech production, articulatory phonetics, and forensic phonetics.

Olaf Köster, University of Trier

OLAF KÖSTER received his MA in phonetics, German and English philology from the University of Trier (1994). Since 1994 he has been working on a project on the evaluation of glottal parameters by means of digital high-speed filming, funded by the 'Stiftung Rheinland-Pfalz fur Innovation'. Parallel to the work on his PhD, he is a teacher of German phonetics for foreign students at Trier University. His research interests focus on forensic phonetics and voice disorders.

Martin Duckworth, The College of St Mark & St John

MARTIN DUCKWORTH received his MA in phonetics and linguistics from the University of Essex (1981). He is also a speech and language therapist and, since 1995, has been leader of the Human Communication Studies course of the College of St Mark & St John in Plymouth, England. His research interests include the accuracy of forensic phonetic examinations and the effect of disorders of communication on interactions between speakers.

Published

1997-07-01

How to Cite

Schiller, N. O., Köster, O., & Duckworth, M. (1997). The effect of removing linguistic information upon identifying speakers of a foreign language. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 4(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v4i1.1

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