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LINGUIST List 18.2034

Thu Jul 05 2007

Diss: Phonetics/Psycholing: Tucker: 'Spoken Word Recognition of the...'

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        1.    Benjamin Tucker, Spoken Word Recognition of the Reduced American English Flap


Message 1: Spoken Word Recognition of the Reduced American English Flap
Date: 04-Jul-2007
From: Benjamin Tucker <bvtuckerualberta.ca>
Subject: Spoken Word Recognition of the Reduced American English Flap


Institution: University of Arizona
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Benjamin Vardell Tucker

Dissertation Title: Spoken Word Recognition of the Reduced American English Flap

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics
Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)


Dissertation Director(s):
Natasha L. Warner

Dissertation Abstract:

Phonetic variation as found in various speech styles is a rich area for
research on spoken word recognition. Research on spoken word recognition
has focused on careful, easily controlled speech styles. This dissertation
investigates the processing of the American English Flap. Specifically, it
focuses on the effect of reduction on processing. The main question asked
in this dissertation is whether listeners adjust their expectations for how
segments are realized based on speech style. Even more broadly, how do
listeners process or recognize reduced speech? Two specific questions are
asked that address individual parts of the broad question. First, how does
reduction affect listeners' recognition of words? Is it more difficult for
listeners to recognize words pronounced in reduced forms, or is it perhaps
easier for listeners to recognize reduced forms? Second, do listeners
adjust their expectations about reduction based on preceding speech style
(context)?

Four experiments were designed using the auditory lexical decision and
cross-modal identity priming tasks. Listeners' responses to reduced and
unreduced flaps (e.g. unreduced [p??l?] as opposed to reduced [p???l?]) were
recorded. The results of this work show that the phonetic variation found
in speech styles containing reduction causes differences in processing.
Processing of reduced speech is inhibited by weakened acoustic information
or mismatch to the underlying phonemic representation in the American
English flap. Listeners use information about speech style to process the
widely varying acoustic reflections of a segment in connected speech. The
implications of these findings for models of spoken word recognition are
discussed.


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