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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Effects of Distinctive Features on the Perception of Vowel Categories

Janne Savela, Tuulia Kleimola, Leena Makela, Jyrki Tuomainen, Olli Aaltonen

University of Turku, Finland

The effects of formant movements related to the number of distinctive features on vowel discrimination of Finnish and Spanish-speaking subjects were studied by measuring response speed and accuracy. Two Finnish vowel continua, which had different formant pattern changes, were compared; the /æ - ø/ continuum had parallel formant frequency movements (F1 and F2 frequencies lowered) while in the /æ - e/ continuum formants changed to the opposite directions. For Spanish subjects both continua had a similar phonemic structure (i.e., /e/ and /ø/) are both allophones of /e/ in Spanish.
   It was found that a parallel movement in F1 and F2 was perceived faster and more accurately than their movements in the opposite direction. This finding was independent of the subjects' language experience. However, the Spanish-speaking subjects had overall slower RTs than the Finnish speaking subjects.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Savela, Janne / Kleimola, Tuulia / Makela, Leena / Tuomainen, Jyrki / Aaltonen, Olli (2003): "The effects of distinctive features on the perception of vowel categories", In ICPhS-15, 1001-1004.