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

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dc.contributor.author Toro Soto, Juan Manuel, 1976-
dc.contributor.author Shukla, Mohinish
dc.contributor.author Nespor, Marina
dc.contributor.author Endress, Ansgar D.
dc.date.accessioned 2019-04-04T08:42:01Z
dc.date.available 2019-04-04T08:42:01Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.citation Toro JM, Shukla M, Nespor M, Endress AD. The quest for generalizations over consonants: asymmetries between consonants and vowels are not the by-product of acoustic differences. Percept Psychophys. 2008 Nov;70(8):1515-25. DOI: 10.3758/PP.70.8.1515
dc.identifier.issn 0031-5117
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/37043
dc.description.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 computations, 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.
dc.description.sponsorship This research was funded by McDonnell Foundation Grant 21002089; by CEE Special Targeted Project CALACEI (Contract 12778, NEST); by the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard University; and by PRIN2005 to M.N.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Springer
dc.relation.ispartof Perception & Psychophysics. 2008 Nov;70(8):1515-25.
dc.rights © Springer The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/PP.70.8.1515
dc.title The quest for generalizations over consonants: asymmetries between consonants and vowels are not the by-product of acoustic differences
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/PP.70.8.1515
dc.subject.keyword Lexical processing
dc.subject.keyword Generalization test
dc.subject.keyword Structural generalization
dc.subject.keyword Vowel duration
dc.subject.keyword Speech stream
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.type.version info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion

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