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LINGUIST List 23.4044

Mon Oct 01 2012

Diss: Phonetics/ Phonology/ Psycholing: Key: 'Phonological and Phonetic Biases in Speech Perception'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 01-Oct-2012
From: Michael Key <keylabphonologist.org>
Subject: Phonological and Phonetic Biases in Speech Perception
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Institution: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Michael Key

Dissertation Title: Phonological and Phonetic Biases in Speech Perception

Dissertation URL: http://key.labphonologist.org/dissertation

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Dissertation Director:
John Kingston

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates how knowledge of phonological
generalizations influences speech perception, with a particular focus
on evidence that phonological processing is autonomous from (rather
than interactive with) auditory processing. A model is proposed in
which auditory cue constraints and markedness constraints interact to
determine a surface representation, which is taken to be isomorphic to
the listener's perceptual response under some psychophysical
conditions. Constraint ranking is argued to be stochastic in this model
on the basis that the probability of computing the least marked surface
representation (and perceptual response) is greater when the input
auditory representation is ambiguous between two alternative
categories than when it strongly favors a category that completes a
more marked surface representation (and perceptual response).
Experimental evidence is presented to demonstrate that (1) native
listeners of languages with assimilation processes confuse
unassimilated and assimilated sequences when discrimination is
category-based (but not when discrimination is based on auditory
representations), (2) German listeners use phonological context to
anticipate the presence of a following allophone iff it is the allophone
with broader distribution, and (3) that non-rhotic English listeners
perceptually epenthesize and delete /r/ and they also may perceptually
undo /r/ deletion. (1) suggests that knowledge of a phonological
generalization may be applied only after auditory processing, which is a
result consistent with the predictions of 'autonomous theory' and
inconsistent with the predictions of 'interactive theory'. (2) and (3) show
that phonological effects in speech perception go beyond biases
against illicit sequences and lead to the novel proposals that positive
constraints (2) and opposite faithfulness constraints (3) exist in the
perceptual grammar.

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