TitleHow Do YOU Say It?: Shibboleth: Phonological Analysis of Non-Native Speakers of English
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFrost, W, Perzanowski, D, Page, RC
Journal2012 NRL Review
Date Published2012
KeywordsAccent, Phonological Analysis, Shibboleth

To assist in the war on global terrorism, the Naval Research Laboratory’s Shibboleth project is investigating the
speech of non-native speakers of English. At U.S. military checkpoints around the world, warfighters typically
speak in English when they interrogate individuals wishing to cross the checkpoints. The respondents, non-native
English speakers, reply in English. By studying the speech of these non-native speakers, linguists at NRL are determining
the phonological rules that characterize or distinguish accents of non-native English speakers. With this information, we
can determine the native language of the speakers using rule-based phonological patterns. This helps to identify potential
threats when, for example, an individual is trying to hide something or avoid identification by lying about himself or
herself. Knowing the phonological identity or correctly identifying the accent of an individual can aid the warfighter in
determining whether persons of interest are telling the truth or lying about their identities.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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