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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Influence of Talker-Specific Phonetic Detail on Word Segmentation

Rachel Smith

University of Cambridge, UK

Experiments show that individual talker characteristics affect performance in many language tasks, but most research has focused on isolated words. The present work investigated whether memory for talkers is also drawn upon in word segmentation. In a training phase, listeners were familiarized with 2 talkers' productions of pairs of phonemically-identical sentences. Training was followed by a word-monitoring test using novel tokens of the training sentences, which were spoken by either a familiar or an unfamiliar talker, and were cross-spliced to consist of allophonically matched or mismatched halves. It was predicted that when the talker was familiar, allophonic match would facilitate word-monitoring and mismatch disrupt it, but that allophonic match/mismatch would have less or no effect when the talker was unfamiliar. This pattern was found for reaction times in one experimental condition, suggesting that episodic memory for talkers critically includes linguistically-relevant phonetic detail.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Smith, Rachel (2003): "Influence of talker-specific phonetic detail on word segmentation", In ICPhS-15, 1465-1468.