15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)
When hearing the non-word entena, Spanish listeners can convert it
to the Spanish word antenna (antenna) by changing one vowel or to
the Spanish word entera (whole) by changing one consonant. Van Ooijen
(1996) found participants were better at vowel changes than consonant
changes, an effect she called "vowel mutability."
Previous experiments have demonstrated vowel mutability with spoken materials, suggesting that it is specific to spoken language. The experiments below tested for vowel mutability with print materials.
Experiment 1 tested 55 native speakers of Spanish with 30 non-words that could be converted to Spanish words by changing either one vowel or one consonant. Experiment 2 was identical to Experiment 1, but the participants were native speakers of English and materials were in English. The results in both showed strong vowel mutability effects. Such effects with print materials, both in Spanish and English, suggest that vowel mutability is not specific to spoken language.
Bibliographic reference. Moates, Danny R. / Marks, Emilia Alonso (2003): "Vowel mutability with print materials in Spanish and English", In ICPhS-15, 1389-1392.