Consonants and vowels may play different roles during language processing, consonants being preferentially involved in lexical processing, and vowels tending to mark syntactic constituency through prosodic cues. In support of this view, artificial language learning studies have demonstrated that consonants (C) support statistical computa- tions, whereas vowels (V) allow certain structural generalizations. Nevertheless, these asymmetries could be mere by-products of lower level acoustic differences between Cs and Vs, in particular the energy they carry, and thus their relative salience. Here we address this issue and show that vowels remain the preferred targets for generalizations, even when consonants are made highly salient or vowels barely audible. Participants listened to speech streams of nonsense CVCVCV words, in which consonants followed a simple ABA structure. Participants failed to generalize this structure over sonorant consonants (Experiment 1), even when vowel duration was reduced to one third of that of consonants (Experiment 2). When vowels were eliminated from the stream, participants showed only a marginal evidence of generalizations (Experiment 4). In contrast, participants readily generalized the structure over barely audible vowels (Experiment 3). These results show that different roles of consonants and vowels cannot be readily reduced to acoustical and perceptual differences between these phonetic categories

Toro, J., Shukla, M., Nespor, M., & Endress, A. (2008). The quest for generalizations over consonants: Asymmetries between consonants and vowels are not the by-product of acoustic differences. ATTENTION, PERCEPTION & PSYCHOPHYSICS, 70(8), 1515-1525 [10.3758/PP.70.8.1515].

The quest for generalizations over consonants: Asymmetries between consonants and vowels are not the by-product of acoustic differences

NESPOR, MARINA ANTONELLA;
2008

Abstract

Consonants and vowels may play different roles during language processing, consonants being preferentially involved in lexical processing, and vowels tending to mark syntactic constituency through prosodic cues. In support of this view, artificial language learning studies have demonstrated that consonants (C) support statistical computa- tions, whereas vowels (V) allow certain structural generalizations. Nevertheless, these asymmetries could be mere by-products of lower level acoustic differences between Cs and Vs, in particular the energy they carry, and thus their relative salience. Here we address this issue and show that vowels remain the preferred targets for generalizations, even when consonants are made highly salient or vowels barely audible. Participants listened to speech streams of nonsense CVCVCV words, in which consonants followed a simple ABA structure. Participants failed to generalize this structure over sonorant consonants (Experiment 1), even when vowel duration was reduced to one third of that of consonants (Experiment 2). When vowels were eliminated from the stream, participants showed only a marginal evidence of generalizations (Experiment 4). In contrast, participants readily generalized the structure over barely audible vowels (Experiment 3). These results show that different roles of consonants and vowels cannot be readily reduced to acoustical and perceptual differences between these phonetic categories
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
consonants, vowels, lexicon, grammar
English
1515
1525
The original version is avaible on http://app.psychonomic-journals.org/content/70/8/1515.refs
Toro, J., Shukla, M., Nespor, M., & Endress, A. (2008). The quest for generalizations over consonants: Asymmetries between consonants and vowels are not the by-product of acoustic differences. ATTENTION, PERCEPTION & PSYCHOPHYSICS, 70(8), 1515-1525 [10.3758/PP.70.8.1515].
Toro, J; Shukla, M; Nespor, M; Endress, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/6889
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