Emmy and Hisako are proud to present the release of Spy or Not, a gamified psycholinguistics experiment made in collaboration with the Accents Research Lab at Concordia University headed by Dr. Spinu.
It is commonly observed that some people are “Good with Accents.” Some people can easily imitate various accents of their native language, while others appear struggle with imitation. This research is dedicated to building free OpenSource phonetics scripts to extract the acoustic components of native speakers and “Good with Accents” speakers to transfer the technical details in a visualizable format to applied linguists on the ground who are working with accented (clinical and non-native) speakers.
In order to collect non-biased judgements from native speakers, a pilot study was designed and run by Dr. Spinu and her students. Images and supporting sound effects were created and the perceptual side of the pilot was disguised as the game “Spy or Not?” The game has since gathered over 8,000 data points by crowdsourcing the judgements to determine the degree (on an 11 point scale) of which participants were “Good with Accents.” This a novel approach to the coding problems that experimenters frequently encounter.
Participation in this project furthers research in phonetics and phonology in addition to experimental methodology in the age of the social web. Our hope is that our readers will Tweet their “Good with Accents” scores and help us get more participants, especially native speakers of Russian English accents, Sussex English accents and South African accents, accents we could never access at the scale we need in a lab setting. Visit the free online game, or play offline by downloading the game at the Chrome Store or on Google Play as a Android App.