Phonetic richness can outweigh prosodically-driven phonological knowledge when learning words in an artificial language

Sahyang Kim, Taehong Cho, James M. McQueen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

How do Dutch and Korean listeners use acoustic-phonetic information when learning words in an artificial language? Dutch has a voiceless 'unaspirated' stop, produced with shortened Voice Onset Time (VOT) in prosodic strengthening environments (e.g., in domain-initial position and under prominence), enhancing the feature {-spread glottis}; Korean has a voiceless 'aspirated' stop produced with lengthened VOT in similar environments, enhancing the feature {+spread glottis}. Given this cross-linguistic difference, two competing hypotheses were tested. The phonological-superiority hypothesis predicts that Dutch and Korean listeners should utilize shortened and lengthened VOTs, respectively, as cues in artificial-language segmentation. The phonetic-superiority hypothesis predicts that both groups should take advantage of the phonetic richness of longer VOTs (i.e., their enhanced auditory-perceptual robustness). Dutch and Korean listeners learned the words of an artificial language better when word-initial stops had longer VOTs than when they had shorter VOTs. It appears that language-specific phonological knowledge can be overridden by phonetic richness in processing an unfamiliar language. Listeners nonetheless performed better when the stimuli were based on the speech of their native languages, suggesting that the use of richer phonetic information was modulated by listeners' familiarity with the stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012 May 1

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Phonetics
phonetics
listener
Language
Learning
language
learning
Glottis
stimulus
Linguistics
Acoustics
acoustics
Cues
Word Learning
Artificial Language
Listeners
linguistics
Group

Cite this

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Phonetic richness can outweigh prosodically-driven phonological knowledge when learning words in an artificial language. / Kim, Sahyang; Cho, Taehong; McQueen, James M.

In: Journal of Phonetics, Vol. 40, No. 3, 01.05.2012, p. 443-452.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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