Abstract/Details

Phonological grammar in speech perception


2002 2002

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation investigates the ways in which speech perception is guided by the expectation that the stimulus is an utterance in the perceiver's language, with a particular focus on how phonotactics affects the interpretation of acoustically ambiguous segments. A model is proposed in which phonological grammar, expressed here as a system of ranked and violable constraints within the framework of phonological Optimality Theory, is used to select among competing candidate parses of the acoustic input. This grammar-based theory is contrasted with two grammarless alternative accounts of perception: the connectionist network TRACE, which derives phonotactic perceptual effects from the lexicon, and a statistical theory based on transitional probabilities.

Experimental evidence is presented to show (1) that English listeners' judgments of vowels and of consonant clusters disfavor configurations which are grammatically illegal in the language, (2) that the dispreference for illegal configurations is far stronger than that for configurations which are legal but have zero frequency, and (3) that it is due to a response dependency, rather than to auditory or other stimulus factors, and cannot be explained by foreign-language exposure. Two experiments with Japanese listeners find that (1) the lexical stratum membership of nonsense words can produce a phonotactic perceptual effect, (2) that the triggering and target segments can be up to three segments distant, and (3) that the stratum-phonotactic effect is larger than a word-superiority effect obtained with the same listeners and paradigm.

These results are shown to be consistent with the grammar-based model, but inconsistent with the two grammarless alternatives. Analysis of the three models reveals that the shortcomings of the alternatives is due to their inability to abstract over phoneme classes and larger linguistic structures. It is concluded that the mechanisms of speech perception have access to a full-fledged phonological competence.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Linguistics;
Cognitive therapy;
Psychology;
Experiments
Classification
0290: Linguistics
0633: Cognitive therapy
0623: Psychology
0623: Experiments
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Language, literature and linguistics; Grammar-based theory; Phonological grammar; Speech perception
Title
Phonological grammar in speech perception
Author
Moreton, Alfred Elliott
Number of pages
269
Publication year
2002
Degree date
2002
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 63/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780493716688, 0493716688
Advisor
Kingston, John
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3056262
ProQuest document ID
275692138
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/275692138
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