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Segment duration as a cue to word boundaries in spoken-word recognition

By K.B. Shatzman and J.M. McQueen


In two eye-tracking experiments, we examined the degree to which listeners use acoustic cues to word boundaries. Dutch participants listened to ambiguous sentences in which stop-initial words (e.g., pot, jar) were preceded by eens (once); the sentences could thus also refer to cluster-initial words (e.g., een spot, a spotlight). The participants made fewer fixations to target pictures (e.g., a jar) when the target and the preceding [s] were replaced by a recording of the cluster-initial word than when they were spliced from another token of the target-bearing sentence (Experiment 1). Although acoustic analyses revealed several differences between the two recordings, only [s] duration correlated with the participants' fixations (more target fixations for shorter [s]s). Thus, we found that listeners apparently do not use all available acoustic differences equally. In Experiment 2, the participants made more fixations to target pictures when the [s] was shortened than when it was lengthened. Utterance interpretation can therefore be influenced by individual segment duration alone

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.3758/bf03193651
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Provided by: NARCIS
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