Investigating the effects of perceptual salience and regional dialect on phonetic accommodation in Spanish
The literature makes contradictory predictions about the role of perceptual salience in phonetic accommodation. This paper presents the preliminary results of a study investigating the effect of the perceptual salience of four dialectal differences between two dialects of Spanish on the pattern of phonetic accommodation after exposure to another dialect in conversation. Accommodation is considered in two ways: the magnitude of the change and the direction of the change (convergence or divergence). Mixed effects models determine that there was a significant positive effect of perceptual salience on the magnitude of the change in that as perceptual salience increases, the magnitude of the change increases. In addition, there was a significant negative effect of perceptual salience on the direction of the change, in that as perceptual salience increases, the likelihood of converging decreases. These findings suggest that perceptual salience mediates the process of accommodation alongside other social, linguistic, and situational factors.