What should be the Place of the Normative Database in Speech Perception Research?

Volume 14
Issue 4
Bernadine Cocks, Jana Smith, & Graham A. Jamieson
To assess the practice of using normative database values to control for confounds in English speech perception research, six separate surveys gathered normative data from a contemporary Australian population on a corpus of 140 English language words. After averaging across participants, these individual word values were then compared with values retrieved from CELEX, the BNC and the MRC. Contrary to predictions, there were significant correlational differences between all four sources for familiarity/frequency, as well as significant mean corpus differences between the current study and the MRC for concreteness and imageability. Furthermore, significant differences were found between written and spoken presentations in both the current study’s surveys and the BNC. This suggests that although the use of normative database values may be common, the practice should be approached with a degree of caution.

Key words: CELEX, MRC, BNC, SUBTLEX, speech