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

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

On the Perception of Vocalic Nasality by Speakers of Spanish and French

Jorge Gurlekian (1), Gaëlle Bélanger (2), Benoît Jacques (2)

(1) Laboratorio de Investigaciones Sensoriales, CONICET, Argentina
(2) Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

The aim of this work is to determine the relative importance of nasal features in the perception on vocalic nasality by francophones and Spanish-speakers, granted that French has nasal vowels as phonemes and Spanish does not. In a first experiment (phonetic) a representative French /A/ and a French /A$/ were synthesized and varied in their nasal features stepwise. Spanish-speaking and French-speaking listeners were asked to tell whether they perceived nasality or not. The results for Spanish show that the separation between the nasal pole and zero is predominant on the formant frequency in the perception of nasality. The influence of bandwidth is negligible. The results for French show an important influence of the pole-zero pair and formant frequency. In a second experiment French-speaking subjects were asked to evaluate the same stimuli as vocalic categories. The results show that the subjects base their judgements on the same criteria, but the level of them must be higher.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gurlekian, Jorge / Bélanger, Gaëlle / Jacques, Benoît (1999): "On the perception of vocalic nasality by speakers of Spanish and French", In ICPhS-14, 885-888.