Identification of Phonemes: Differences between Phoneme Classes and the Effect of Class SizeWagner A. · Ernestus M.
aMax Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and bRadboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
This study reports general and language-specific patterns in phoneme identification. In a series of phoneme monitoring experiments, Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Dutch, English, and Polish listeners identified vowel, fricative, and stop consonant targets that are phonemic in all these languages, embedded in nonsense words. Fricatives were generally identified more slowly than vowels, while the speed of identification for stop consonants was highly dependent on the onset of the measurements. Moreover, listeners’ response latencies and accuracy in detecting a phoneme correlated with the number of categories within that phoneme’s class in the listener’s native phoneme repertoire: more native categories slowed listeners down and decreased their accuracy. We excluded the possibility that this effect stems from differences in the frequencies of occurrence of the phonemes in the different languages. Rather, the effect of the number of categories can be explained by general properties of the perception system, which cause language-specific patterns in speech processing.
Anita Wagner, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, PO Box 310, NL-6500 AH, Nijmegen (The Netherlands), Tel. +31 24 352 1585, Fax +31 24 352 1213, E-Mail Anita.Wagner@mpi.nl
Received: May 21, 2007
Accepted: April 4, 2008
Published online: May 28, 2008
Number of Print Pages : 22
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 0
Phonetica (International Journal of Phonetic Science)
Vol. 65, No. 1-2, Year 2008 (Cover Date: May 2008)
Journal Editor: Kohler K. (Kiel)
ISSN: 0031–8388 (Print), eISSN: 1423–0321 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PHO