Imitate an Accent to Understand It Better

Psychologist Patti Adank of the University of Manchester wondered if using an accent, even if it was affected, would make that accent more comprehensible. It did:

To find out how we can make sense of unfamiliar inflections, psychologists spoke to volunteers in an accent they’d invented. Some subjects were told to imitate the odd sounds. Others were told to simply listen, or to repeat the sentence in their normal voice. Turns out the mimics did better at deciphering the unusual exchange. The scientists say that simply moving your mouth like other folks do allows you to intuit their potentially eccentric speech patterns, and get what they say.

Link | Photo by Flickr user Hans Van Rijnberk used under Creative Commons license

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