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EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

We asked 234 high school students in two schools in Copenhagen to rate eight different sound clips (mean duration 7.6 seconds) produced by four different fifteen-year-old male speakers. High school students were chosen as respondents due to their age. “Street language” is used predominantly by young speakers, and so listeners of this age would presumably have more experience with this type of speech from their daily lives. Two of the speakers spoke “modern” Copenhagen, while the other two spoke “street” Copenhagen.

A number of sociolinguistic studies (Quist 2000, 2008; Maegaard 2007; Madsen 2008; Moller 2009; Ag 2010; Hansen & Pharao 2010; Madsen, Moller, & Jorgensen 2010; Stehr 2010; Moller & Jorgensen 2011) have described the linguistic features associated with “street.” Our stimulus samples include only one characteristic feature of “street,” namely, a prosodic pattern that has previously been identified as sufficient for listeners to categorize speech as “street” (see Hansen & Pharao 2010; Pharao et al. 2014 for descriptions of this pattern). Several sociolinguistic studies (e.g., Maegaard 2005; Kristiansen 2009; M0ller 2009) have also described the “modern” register, and in this particular study it only differs from the “street” register with respect to the presence absence of the prosodic pattern.

Each speaker was represented by two clips, one containing only alveolar variants of /s/, the other containing only dental variants of /s/. The clips were identical, except for the two different manifestations of /s/, which were spliced into the original (see Pharao et al. 2014 for more details on the method). Example (4) presents a transcript of a speech sample, with occurrences of /s/ marked in bold and underlined.

(4) sa kommer der sadan en vej der gar opad og k0rer ud i den der s0 den hedder Stakitvej 0h og nar sa der er ogsa sadan en 0hm sort prik det er en scooterbutik

‘then there is a road that goes up there and into the lake that’s called Fence road eh and then when there’s also kind of ehrm a black spot that’s a scooter shop’

Listeners rated each clip on eight personality scales. The selection of scales was based on a prestudy of evaluations of the same speech samples (cf. Pharao et al. 2014). The scales included confused, intelligent, homosexual, feminine, immigrant, gangster, Nordsjxlland (Northern Zealand, affluent suburbs of Copenhagen), Vestegnen (the western area, poorer suburbs of Copenhagen). We use 5-point Likert scales, and listeners responded to questions of the following type: “Does this person seem to you to be [e.g. intelligent]?” Scales ranged from 1 = “no, not at all” to 5 = “yes, very much.”

 
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