15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Perception of Consonant Place of Articulation: Phonological Categories Meet Natural Boundaries

Willy Serniclaes (1), Caroline Bogliotti (1), René Carré (2)

(1) LEAPLE-CNRS, France
(2) ENST-CNRS, France

Previous studies reveal that perception of consonant place of articulation is organized around a central reference given by the neutral vowel. In the neutral vocalic context, place boundaries correspond to flat F2-F3 transitions in stimuli where the latter covary. However, when modified separately, the F2 and F3 flat formant transitions subdivide the F2-F3 onset frequency space into four regions. As only three place categories are phonologically relevant for stop consonants in French, the question is to know how the four regions are shared out between categories. The aim of the present study is to specify how natural boundaries are traded-off for operating this share-out. Both labeling and discrimination responses were collected. Results show that even when natural boundaries are located inside phonological categories they can still affect consonant discrimination. Further, non-phonological categories remain perceptible for some adult subjects. The implications of these findings for phonological development are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Serniclaes, Willy / Bogliotti, Caroline / Carré, René (2003): "Perception of consonant place of articulation: phonological categories meet natural boundaries", In ICPhS-15, 391-394.