14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)
San Francisco, CA, USA
In Spanish, the alveolar trill affects the articulation and resulting acoustic realization of certain preceding vowels. For example, it creates a lower allophone of the close-mid front vowel /e/. To further elucidate the role of coarticulatory effects in perception, a perceptual experiment was conducted to test whether listeners can use such vocalic cues to figure out the identity of the following consonant. After hearing the first half of the words pero "but" and perro "dog" (/pe-/), listeners were indeed able to identify the second half of the word at a level significantly above chance, given a forced choice between -ro (/-ɾo/) and -rro (/ro/). It appears they can use allophonic differences in the vowel due to coarticulation with a trill as cues for the trill. This finding has implications for second language acquisition, speech pathology, and speech technology.
Bibliographic reference. Lewis, Julie A. (1999): "Perceptual strategies due to trill-vowel coarticulatory effects in Spanish", In ICPhS-14, 2477-2480.