Cross-regional differences in the perception of fricative devoicing

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In Dutch, onset /v/ is becoming voiceless. Regional differences have beenobserved in the degree of devoicing and in the acoustic implementation of the/v/–/f/ contrast. We test whether these regional differences – reflecting differentstages of the change in progress – are reflected in perception. We presentthe results of a speeded categorization task of stimuli that were systematicallyvaried for periodicity and duration. Listeners were selected in three regions:West-Flanders (incipient phase), Randstad (intermediate phase) and Groningen(advanced phase). Twenty participants per region categorized 405 stimuli as vor f. Periodicity is a strong cue in all regions, duration only plays a minor role.Regional differences show up in the degree of categoricity and in uncertainty.


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