14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Implications for Word Recognition of Phonetic Dependencies between Syllable Onsets and Codas

Noël Nguyen (1), Sarah Hawkins (2)

(1) Laboratory for Psycholinguistics, University of Geneva, Switzerland
(2) Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, UK

Acoustic cues to a given phonological contrast may extend over long stretches of time. Thus, recent findings show that syllableonset /l/s are slightly longer and darker in syllables with voiced codas, compared with voiceless ones, and that, in certain conditions, these acoustic differences play a role in word recognition. It is argued that coda-dependent variations in onset /l/s contribute to enhancing two major perceptual properties associated with coda voicing. We further suggest that the listener's sensitivity to these phonetic dependencies between syllable onsets and codas is at variance with segmental models of word recognition in which acoustic cues are integrated over short time intervals. Our findings provide support for an alternative, non-segmental approach, according to which distributed acoustic cues are central to word recognition and acoustic-phonetic fine-detail is available at the initial contact stage of lexical access.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Nguyen, Noël / Hawkins, Sarah (1999): "Implications for word recognition of phonetic dependencies between syllable onsets and codas", In ICPhS-14, 647-650.