Accent-induced coder bias
Recent research has shown that speech perception can easily be influenced by
the overall accent of the speaker. This paper investigates whether such accentinduced
bias also occurs in speech transcription by professional and linguistically
trained coders and to what extent such a bias may affect linguistic analyses.
We compare the transcriptions of the Bären vowel in Standard German with
the acoustic values of these vowels, as well as sociolinguistic analyses based on
both of these. The results of the two analyses turn out to be considerably different.
Further examination shows that the coders only partly relied on the acoustic
values. The residual does not consist of random errors, but correlate with the
degree of accentedness of the speakers. We conclude that this accent-induced
coder bias led the coders to transcribe the codings according to their expectations
about the pronunciation in the local dialect – expectations that were quite
different from the acoustic reality.
Keywords: Bären vowel, transcription, accent, perception, bias, social indexicality
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