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Phonemes and Syllables in Speech Perception: size of the attentional focus in French.

By Christophe Pallier

Abstract

A study by Pitt and Samuel (1990) found that English speakers could narrowly focus attention onto a precise phonemic position inside spoken words [1]. This led the authors to argue that the phoneme, rather than the syllable, is the primary unit of speech perception. Other evidence, obtained with a syllable detection paradigm, has been put forward to propose that the syllable is the unit of perception; yet, these experiments were ran with French speakers [2]. In the present study, we adapted Pitt & Samuel's phoneme detection experiment to French and found that French subjects behave exactly like English subjects: they too can focus attention on a precise phoneme. To explain both this result and the established sensitivity to the syllabic structure, we propose that the perceptual system automatically parses the speech signal into a syllabically-structured phonological representation

Topics: Cognitive Psychology, Speech, Phonology, Psycholinguistics, Psychophysics
Publisher: University of Patras, Rion, Greece
Year: 1997
OAI identifier: oai:cogprints.org:751
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    Citations

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    6. (1981). The role of syllables in speech processing: Infant and adult data,”
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    8. (1986). The syllable's differing role in the segmentation of French and
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    10. (1986). The TRACE model of speech perception,”

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