Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
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Research and Education

Alex McAllister

Alex McAllister
Graduate Student - Spanish Linguistics and Language Science
2017-2018, 2016-2017, 2014-2015
Alex McAllister


I am a third year graduate student in Spanish Linguistics working with Dr. Matthew Carlson. Generally speaking, my research interests involve how both prior experience and expectation shape speech perception.

Project Summary:

In this study, I will be exploring how dialectal variation in the L1 affect perception of the L2. Employing a behavioral go/no-go task, native speakers of Dutch will be tasked with learning to perceive two novel pseudo-dialects of English. These dialects differ in their realizations of /ɪ/ and /ɛ/, with both vowels being realized as either more fronted or backed. It is hypothesized that Dutch speakers will be more sensitive to changes in the /ɛ/ vowel, as it varies dialectally in the L1.  They will ultimately be more likely to use the variation in this vowel (/ɛ/) to perceptually discern the two novel L2 dialects. They will be less likely to use the variation in the vowel /ɪ/, as it does not vary meaningfully in the L1.