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

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


Recognition of Assimilated Words in Normal and Fast Speech

Hugo Quené, Joyce Krull

Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Even when words are normally assimilated in connected speech, listeners can recognise them easily. Word recognition may be so robust against assimilation, because listeners expect certain assimilation phenomena (given speech rate and style). From this hypothesis, we predict that listeners have more difficulty in recognising (unexpectedly) un-assimilated words than assimilated ones. This difficulty would even be greater when listening to fast speech. These predictions were tested in a word detection experiment, with speech of normal and fast rates. For normal speech, RTs were indeed slower for un-assimilated target words than for assimilated targets, as predicted. Listeners expect certain assimilations in the input speech, and they expect to undo these in word recognition. For fast speech, however, the effect of assimilation was reversed. Under adverse conditions, word recognition seems to be facilitated by a more faithful (unassimilated) phonetic representation of the target word, even if such a realisation is unnatural.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Quené, Hugo / Krull, Joyce (1999): "Recognition of assimilated words in normal and fast speech", In ICPhS-14, 1831-1834.