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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Phonological Vowel Contrast: The Case of the French Median Vowels

Marion Girard, Jean-Marie Hombert

DDL-CNRS/Université Lumière Lyon 2, France

This study focuses on the relations that preside over production and perception processes of speech, in order to propose a model that accounts for the link between these two processes. Our experimental protocol led us to collect data in vowel production and perception which can be analyzed globally or individually. In this preliminary study we have examined phonological units in relation to perception of speech, studying two different varieties of the French: the Centre and the South ones. Considering the overall population, our results support the Motor Theory of Speech. For south French speakers, a phonetic distinction due to phonotactic constraints is correlated with a perceptual distinction although these two sounds represent only one phoneme. However if we look at the correlation individually, a lot of variation appears. Some South French speakers show a pattern where a phonetic distinction in production is not associated with a perceptual distinction, thus supporting the idea that there is a phonological level.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Girard, Marion / Hombert, Jean-Marie (2003): "Phonological vowel contrast: the case of the French median vowels", In ICPhS-15, 2389-2392.