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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Cognitive Template for a Phonetic Correlate of Syllable Structure

Melissa A. Redford

University of Oregon, USA

The study was designed to test a coarticulatory origin for the long-short segment duration pattern typical of syllable onset clusters. The hypothesis was that the internal members of these clusters are shortened due to coproduction with the following vowel. Specifically, the internal consonants are terminated when the downward-moving jaw makes for inefficient consonantal articulation. To test the hypothesis, native-English speakers produced nonsense words with intervocalic consonant sequences in four speech production conditions: (1) normal speech, (2) bite-block speech without auditory feedback, (3) clenched-jaw speech without auditory feedback; (4) normal speech without auditory feedback. Overall, the results show that speakers preserve consonant duration patterns that conform to intended syllable structures despite articulatory and perceptual disruptions to the system. Such results do not support or exclude a coarticulatory origin for syllable-related consonant duration patterns. Instead, they suggest that these patterns are important to the mental representation of syllables, at least in English.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Redford, Melissa A. (2003): "Cognitive template for a phonetic correlate of syllable structure", In ICPhS-15, 2261-2264.