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Home Journal Index 2023-2

From Cues to Features: Bridging Psycho- and Sociolinguistics in the Development of Non-Native English Stimuli

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Marina Ivanova

Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany


Josef Schmied

Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany



Developing credible stimuli for language experiments unites psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics – the stimuli need to reduce confounds while mirroring the investigated variety. Perceptual cues can be used to signal prototypical linguistic features which can be employed as variety markers and increase the experiment’s ecological validity. This has implications for the scarce research on the perception of non-native English speakers of the variety they encounter daily – their own. Representing regional and foreign Englishes raises issues of avoiding stereotypes while introducing natural variability in the stimuli. We propose using credibly weighted cues to represent features of non-native Englishes on a small (phonology) and a large scale (syntax). Utilizing these stimuli in behavioral and psychophysiological studies has great potential to advance the understanding on non-native in-group variety perception. Moreover, the careful construction of experimental stimuli helps increase the experiment’s credibility and validity, which are core quality criteria in language acquisition and TESOL research.



Cue, feature, experimental stimuli, language variation, credibility