Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP'92)

Banff, Alberta, Canada
October 13-16, 1992

On the Absence of Word Segmentation at "Weak" Syllables

Hugo Quene, Yvette Smits

Research Institute for Language and Speech, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

This research investigates the metrical segmentation strategy, which states that listeners attempt a lexical access at each metrically strong syllable, with this syllable as potential word onset. This paper reports on a "word spotting" experiment, where the target word corresponded with the second syllable of a two-syllable phrase. The onset of the target word was ambiguous. The metrical strength of the target word was manipulated by varying its phonological vowel length and accentuation independently. Neither of these two manipulations had a significant effect on subjects' hit rate or reaction time in spotting the target word. These results can be explained by assuming a different word segmentation strategy for Dutch, as compared to the metrical strategy reported for English. In addition, the results suggest that accentuation has an independent effect on word segmentation, most likely due to the enhanced perceptual salience of accented syllables.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Quene, Hugo / Smits, Yvette (1992): "On the absence of word segmentation at "weak" syllables", In ICSLP-1992, 213-216.