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The Language Hoax

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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: Underspecification and asymmetries in voicing perception
Author: So-One K. Hwang
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Philip J. Monahan
Institution: Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language
Author: William James Idsardi
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.ling.udel.edu/idsardi/
Institution: University of Delaware
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Abstract: The purpose of our study is to show that phonological knowledge is an important basis for making predictions during speech perception. Taking the phonological constraint in English that coda obstruent clusters agree in their value for voicing, we conducted two experiments using vowel–stop–fricative sequences, where the task was to identify the fricative. Stimuli included sequences that were either congruent or incongruent. Consistent with models of featural underspecification for voiceless obstruents, our results indicate that only voiced stops induced predictions for an upcoming voiced fricative, eliciting processing difficulty when such predictions were not met. In contrast, voiceless stops appear to induce no equivalent predictions. These results demonstrate the important role of abstract phonological knowledge in online processing, and the asymmetries in our findings also suggest that only specified features are the basis for generating perceptual predictions about the upcoming speech signal.

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 27, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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