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LINGUIST List 16.2222

Wed Jul 20 2005

Diss: Phonology/Psycholing: Boomershine: 'Perceptual...'

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        1.    Amanda Boomershine, Perceptual Processing of Variable Input in Spanish: an Exemplar Based Approach to Speech Perception


Message 1: Perceptual Processing of Variable Input in Spanish: an Exemplar Based Approach to Speech Perception
Date: 19-Jul-2005
From: Amanda Boomershine <boomershine.11osu.edu>
Subject: Perceptual Processing of Variable Input in Spanish: an Exemplar Based Approach to Speech Perception


Institution: Ohio State University
Program: Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Amanda Reiter Boomershine

Dissertation Title: Perceptual Processing of Variable Input in Spanish: an Exemplar Based Approach to Speech Perception

Dissertation URL: http://www.ohiolink.edu

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics
                            Phonology
                            Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): Spanish (SPN)

Dissertation Director:
Keith Johnson
Terrell A Morgan
Scott A Schwenter

Dissertation Abstract:

The effects of linguistic experience on the perceptual processing and
identification of phonological dialect variation were investigated in a
series of psycholinguistic experiments with native speakers of Spanish from
Mexico and Puerto Rico. Perceptual processing of dialect variation was
assessed using bisyllabic words produced by female speakers of Mexican and
Puerto Rican Spanish with a speeded naming task and a lexical decision
task. Identification of dialect variation was assessed using bisyllabic
words with a two-alternative forced-choice classification task. The test
stimuli used in all three tasks contained either a word-final /n/, a
syllable-final /r/, or a syllable-final /s/. These phonological variables
were chosen because they exhibit phonological variation to different
degrees in the two dialects being studied here.

The results from the speeded naming task show a significant main effect for
phonological variable, with words containing syllable-final /s/ resulting
in the slowest naming (reaction) time. Factors that significantly
interacted with other factors were sex, listener dialect, and speaker
dialect. The results from the lexical decision task show a significant
effect for phonological variable, where words containing syllable-final /s/
resulted again in the slowest reaction times. Interestingly, both Mexican
and Puerto Rican participants were biased to labeling Mexican stimuli as a
word, even when the stimuli were nonwords. This bias was not found for the
Puerto Rican stimuli. The dialect identification task's results show that
overall the speaker's dialect of words containing syllable-final /s/ was
most accurately identified, while those words containing syllable-final /r/
were least accurate. The Mexican listeners were more accurate at
identifying their own dialect, as were the Puerto Rican listeners.

These results are easily modeled and accounted for within an exemplar-based
approach. In an exemplar model, such as the one presented in Chapter 6,
there are interactions and activations between several categories during
speech perception and production. A listener's linguistic experience is
stored as exemplars in the lexicon that are connected to other linguistic
and extra-linguistic information that the listener has experienced. This
way, input is stored as detailed exemplars, which activate, and in turn are
activated by, other categories such as stereotypes (e.g. age, gender,
dialect, etc.) and phonological generalizations (e.g. word-final nasals are
velar). The findings of the current study add to the growing literature on
the effects of linguistic experience on the perception of variable input,
as well as to the growing literature on exemplar-based models of perception
and production.





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