Fourth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Madrid, Spain
September 18-21, 1995

Effects of Syllabic Position in the Perception Of Spoken English

Athanassios Protopapas, Steven Finney, Peter D. Eimas

Dept. of Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

We report a series of experiments that demonstrate an effect of syllabic position on reaction time during phoneme monitoring in English. In our stimuli, the third phoneme of each word was the target phoneme, and it belonged either to the coda of the first syllable (coda-type target) or to the onset of the second syllable (onset-type target). By manipulating the proportions of the target types, reaction times to targets of the expected syllabic structure were significantly affected. This effect was only present when words stressed on their second syllable were used; words with first-syllable stress yielded no effect of expectation. The difference may be attributed to the strongly ambisyllabic nature of consonants following stressed vowels. The results are consistent with the idea that prelexical syllabic segmentation always occurs, but is only evident when the syllabic boundaries of the materials are unambiguous. These and previous findings are discussed from a cross-linguistic perspective.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Protopapas, Athanassios / Finney, Steven / Eimas, Peter D. (1995): "Effects of syllabic position in the perception of spoken English", In EUROSPEECH-1995, 2301-2304.