4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

The Role of the Rhythmic Groups in the Segmentation of Continuous French Speech

Delphine Dahan

Max-Planck Institut für Psycholinguistik, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

French is characterized by the presence of a final stress at the end of rhythmic groups. Lexical processing could be facilitated for words whose right boundary also corresponds to the rhythmic-group boundary. Sentences were constructed with a target syllable at various positions relative to word and rhythmic-group boundaries. These sentences were presented to French listeners (experiment 1) and to Dutch listeners (experiment 2), whose task was to detect a target syllable. RT analysis suggests an influence of the syllable position within the rhythmic group, independently of its position in the word. The closer to the right edge of the rhythmic group the syllable was, the faster its detection. Although this pattern was quite similar for French and Dutch listeners, some differences suggest that French listeners, but not Dutch listeners, have taken advantage of specificities of French rhythm. Universal and language-specific procedures in speech perception are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Dahan, Delphine (1996): "The role of the rhythmic groups in the segmentation of continuous French speech", In ICSLP-1996, 1185-1188.