15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)
Certain suprasegmental patterns have been shown to condition the perception
of vowel nasality and hence to favour the historical development of
nasalised vowels. However, experiments showing this have typically
used only anglophone subjects. The present experiment examines whether
these effects generalise to speakers of French, a language with significantly
different suprasegmental properties from English. We repeated with
10 French subjects perceptual tests already used with English speakers
and compared results for the two groups with respect to three parameters
known to be potentially salient in conditioning nasal percepts on vowels.
Results show that the responses of the French subjects differ significantly from those of the English subjects for all the parameters, and in ways related to the differences between French and English phonology. Nevertheless, both groups showed at least some minimal sensitivity to all the effects studied, so that we are unable to rule out the possibility of their having a universal basis.
Bibliographic reference. Watson, Ian / Hajek, John (2003): "Cross-linguistic study of the effect of suprasegmental features conditioning the development of nasal vowels", In ICPhS-15, 2809-2812.