Speaking Italian with a Twist

A Corpus Study of Perceived Foreign Accent


Claudia Roberta Combei


This book investigates non-native Italian speech, focusing on Russian, English, German, French, Romanian, and Spanish accents, while also drawing comparisons to the native varieties of the language. By using a corpus that includes over 8 hours of read and spontaneous speech, collected from 122 young adult speakers of L1 and L2 Italian, the work examines various factors that influence how foreign accents are perceived and recognized. A mixed-method approach that combines quantitative and qualitative analyses is deployed, incorporating machine learning classification techniques as well as accent perception experiments with Italian listeners. The monograph offers a novel empirical perspective on the phenomenon of foreign accent, examining and discussing the specific segmental and suprasegmental features that contribute to the perception and identification of each accent. The findings yielded by this work hold the potential to serve as a groundwork for future analyses on foreign accent.


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Author Biography

Claudia Roberta Combei

She is a Researcher (RTD-a) in Linguistics at the University of Pavia where she teaches Phonetics and Phonology and Computational Linguistics. She earned her PhD in 2019 from the University of Pisa. Her research employs a mixed-method approach, investigating topics such as non-native speech, patterns of vowel variation and change, and more recently political and (social) media discourse. She co-coordinates the RadioCast-It speech corpus and serves as a member of the Editorial Board of Bibliography of Metaphor and Metonymy – MetBib (John Benjamins). Since 2023, she has been the Coordinator of the Experimental Phonetics Laboratory at the University of Pavia.


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settembre 15, 2023

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