4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Phonotactic and Metrical Influences on Adult Ratings of Spoken Nonsense Words

Michael S. Vitevitch (1), Paul A. Luce (1), Jan Charles-Luce (2), David Kemmerer (3)

(1) Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Science; (2) Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences and Center for Cognitive Science; (3) Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

This study examined the phonological intuitions of adults by having them rate the phonological "goodness" of nonsense words. Subjects were asked to use a ten point scale to rate how "English-like" each stimulus, which was presented auditorily, sounded. The stimuli were phonotactically legal (in English) bisyllabic, CVCCVC nonsense words that varied in their phonotactic probability and primary stress placement. Subjects rated highly probable phonotactic stimuli as more "Englishlike." In addition, stimuli with the primary stress on the first syllable were judged more "English-like" than stimuli with the primary stress on the second syllable. No interaction between phonotactic probability and stress was found. Our results show that subjects have consistent and reliable intuitions regarding phonotactic configurations and stress patterning, demonstrating that fairly detailed probabilistic segmental and suprasegmental information resides in memory for form-based lexical representations.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vitevitch, Michael S. / Luce, Paul A. / Charles-Luce, Jan / Kemmerer, David (1996): "Phonotactic and metrical influences on adult ratings of spoken nonsense words", In ICSLP-1996, 82-85.