5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

Perception Of Words With Vowel Reduction

Johan Frid

Dept. of linguistics and phonetics, Lund University, Sweden

This study deals with listeners' ability to identify linguistic units from linguistically incomplete stimuli and relates this to the potentiality of vowel reduction in a word. Synthetic speech was used to produce stimuli that were similar to real words, but where the vowel in the pre-stress syllable was excluded. Listeners then performed a lexical decision test, where they had to decide whether a stimulus sounded like a word or not. The effects of the identity of the removed vowel and of features of the consonants adjacent to the removed vowel were then examined, as well as syllabic features. For type of vowel, lower word rates were found for words with the vowels /a/ and /o/, whereas words with nasals after the reduced vowel tended to result in higher word rates. Furthermore, words that still conformed to the phonotactic structure of Swedish after reduction got lower word rates than words that violated this, possibly because the conforming words are more eligible to resyllabification, which renders them as phonotactically legal nonsense words rather than real words.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Frid, Johan (1998): "Perception of words with vowel reduction", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0743.