12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Florence, Italy
August 27-31. 2011

Phonotactic Constraints and the Segmentation of Cantonese Speech

Michael C. W. Yip

Hong Kong Institute of Education, China

Two word-spotting experiments were conducted to examine the question of whether native Cantonese listeners are constrained by phonotactic information in the segmentation of Cantonese continuous speech. Because there are no legal consonant clusters occurred within individual Cantonese words, so this kind of phonotactic information of words may most likely cue native Cantonese listeners the locations of possible word boundaries in the continuous speech. Finally, the observed results from the two experiments confirmed this prediction. Together with other relevant studies [1,2], we argue that phonotactic constraint is one of the useful sources of information in segmenting Cantonese continuous speech.


  1. Yip, M. C. W. (2000). Recognition of spoken words in continuous speech: Effects of transitional probability. Proceedings of the ICSLP'2000, 758-761.
  2. Yip, M. C. W. (2006). The role of positional probability in the segmentation of Cantonese speech. Proceedings of ICSLP’2006, 865-868.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yip, Michael C. W. (2011): "Phonotactic constraints and the segmentation of Cantonese speech", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 2217-2220.