Hugh: Research Shows Accents are Contagious
Written by Hugh Campbell on January 9, 2023
Researchers from three universities in Pennsylvania found that people begin to talk like one another when they performed tasks together.
Participants worked together solving puzzles, navigating a virtual world, or clicking words from a list. The more engaging a task was, the more participants experienced “phonetic convergence.”
Changes included vowel length, voice onset time, and voice frequencies.
Some linguists say anticipating an accent can also play a role in phonetic convergence.