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aspects of the signal are worth measuring, whereas with a holistic perceptual approach, all features of the signal can be taken into consideration. Recent work comparing a single acoustic measure of imitation and perceptual measures of imitation demonstrated that even when both measures reveal significant effects of imitation, the acoustic and perceptual measures are not correlated (Babel and Bulatov, 2011). This finding underscores the fact while phonetic imitation may interact with individual acoustic-phonetic features on the macro-level in terms of the diffusion of sound change across communities, phonetic imitation on an individual level does not involve singular features. Furthermore, this result indi- cates that listeners naturally evaluate perceptual similarity from a more holistic perspective. Of course, more holistic acoustic measures are also possible. Recent work, for exam- ple, has used mel-frequency cepstral coefficients as a meas- ure of phonetic imitation (Delvaux and Soquet, 2007). Concluding remarks The research on phonetic imitation allows several important conclusions about speech communication. First, it highlights an important feature about speech perception and speech production. For imitation to occur, listeners have to perceive a certain amount of subtle acoustic-phonetic detail in the speech signal. This underscores listener sensitivity to the details of the signal. From there, the listener-turned-talk- er must map the acoustic-phonetic detail onto their own sub- sequent speech productions. This observation from the imi- tation literature indicates a relationship between speech per- ception and production. Importantly, this relationship can- not be a one-to-one mapping because we find many cases where phonetic imitation does not occur (see Vallabha and Tuller (2003) for a clear example). Second, work on phonetic imitation brings us to an interesting conclusion with respect to social cognition and language. The data indicate that, at least in laboratory contexts where social meaning is compar- atively void, the default behavior seems to be imitation. Outside of the laboratory, we can imagine that imitation would be crucial for creating and developing social cohesion. The fact that socio-cultural factors moderate even low-level laboratory-based speech behavior strongly suggests that speech production is never without social influence. Lastly, the syntactic analogue of phonetic imitation, known as syn- tactic alignment or priming (previewed in the introduction), alludes to the important observation that imitative behaviors are pervasive across the language system. This suggests that imitation may serve as a fundamental component in the process of language acquisition and language learning.AT Johnson, K. (2006). “Resonance in an exemplar-based lexicon: The emergence of social identity and phonology,” J. Phonetics 43, 485–499. Kim, M., Horton, W. S., and Bradlow, A. R. (2011). “Phonetic con- vergence in spontaneous conversations as a function of inter- locutor language distance,” J. Laboratory Phonology 2, 125–156. Munro, M. J., Derwing, T. M., and Flege, J. E. (1999). “Canadians in Alabama: A perceptual study of dialect acquisition in adults,” J. Phonetics 27, 385–403. Namy, L. L., Nygaard, L. C., and Sauerteig, D. (2002). “Gender dif- ferences in vocal accommodation: The role of perception,” J. Lang. and Social Psychology 21, 422–432. Nielsen, K. (2011). “Specificity and abstractness of VOT imitation,” J. Phonetics 39, 132–142. Pardo, J. S. (2006). “On phonetic convergence during conversation- al interaction,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119, 2382–2393. Perry, T. L., Ohde, R., and Ashmead, D. (2001). “The acoustic bases for gender identification from children’s voices,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 109, 2988–2998. Peterson, G., and Barney, H. (1952). “Control methods used in a study of the vowels,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 24, 175–184. Sachs, J., Lieberman, P., and Erickson, D. (1973). “Anatomical and cultural determinants in male and female speech,” in Language Attitudes, edited by, R. W. Shuy and R. W. Fasold, 74–83 (Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC). Vallabha, G. K., and Tuller, B. (2004). “Perceptuomotor bias in the imitation of steady-state vowels,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116, 1184–1197.  References Babel, M. (2012). “Evidence for phonetic and social selectivity in spontaneous phonetic imitation,” J. Phonetics, 40, 177–189. Babel, M. (2010). “Dialect divergence and convergence in New Zealand English,” Language in Society 39, 437–456. Babel, M., and Bulatov, D. (2011). “The role of fundamental fre- quency in phonetic accommodation,” to appear in Language and Speech, 1–18, doi:10.1177/0023830911417695. Bock, K. (1986). “Syntactic persistence in language production,” Cognitive Psychology 18, 355–387. Delvaux, V., and Soquet, A. (2007). “The influence of ambient speech on adult speech productions through unintentional imi- tation,” Phonetica 64,145–173. Evans, B. G., and Iverson, P. (2007). “Plasticity in vowel perception and production: A study of accent change in young adults,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121, 3814–3826. Garrett, A. and Johnson, K. (in press). “Phonetic bias in sound change,” in A. C. L. Yu (Ed.), Origins of sound change: Approaches to phonologization (The Oxford University Press, Oxford). Goldinger, S. D. (1998). “Echoes of echoes? An episodic theory of lexical access,” Psychological Rev. 105, 251–279. Gregory, S.W., and Webster, S. (1996). “A nonverbal signal in voices of interview partners effectively predicts communication accommodation and social status perceptions,” J. Personality and Social Psychology 70, 1231–1240. Hay, J., Jannedy, S., and Mendoza-Denton, N. (1999). “Oprah and /ay/: Lexical Frequency, Referee Design and Style,” Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, San Francisco, CA. 22 Acoustics Today, October 2011 

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