Phonetic and Lexical Predictors of Intelligibility

Charlotte Gooskens, Wilbert Heeringa and Karin Beijering

in Computing and Language Variation

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780748640300
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671380 | DOI:
Phonetic and Lexical Predictors of Intelligibility

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This chapter investigates the intelligibility of standard Danish and seventeen Scandinavian language varieties among young Danes from Copenhagen, Denmark. It also measures distances between standard Danish and each of the seventeen varieties at the lexical level and at different phonetic levels. In order to determine how well these linguistic levels can predict intelligibility, the chapter correlates the intelligibility scores with the linguistic distances and undertakes a number of regression analyses. It shows that for this particular set of closely related language varieties, phonetic distance is a better predictor of intelligibility than lexical distance. Consonant substitutions, vowel insertions, and vowel shortenings contribute significantly to the prediction of intelligibility.

Keywords: language varieties; Scandinavian; Danish; intelligibility; phonetic distance; lexical distance; consonant substitutions; vowel insertions; vowel shortenings

Chapter.  6447 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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