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  Sparseness of vowel category structure: Evidence from English dialect comparison

Scharinger, M., & Idsardi, W. (2014). Sparseness of vowel category structure: Evidence from English dialect comparison. Lingua, 140, 35-51. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2013.11.007.

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 Creators:
Scharinger, Mathias1, 2, Author              
Idsardi, William2, Author
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Auditory Cognition, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_751545              
2Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Speech perception; Phonetic and phonological categories; Abstract information; Exemplars; Vowel representations; Semantic priming; Lexical decision
 Abstract: Current models of speech perception tend to emphasize either fine-grained acoustic properties or coarse-grained abstract characteristics of speech sounds. We argue for a particular kind of ‘sparse’ vowel representations and provide new evidence that these representations account for the successful access of the corresponding categories. In an auditory semantic priming experiment, American English listeners made lexical decisions on targets (e.g. load) preceded by semantically related primes (e.g. pack). Changes of the prime vowel that crossed a vowel-category boundary (e.g. peck) were not treated as a tolerable variation, as assessed by a lack of priming, although the phonetic categories of the two different vowels considerably overlap in American English. Compared to the outcome of the same experiment with New Zealand English listeners, where such prime variations were tolerated, our experiment supports the view that phonological representations are important in guiding the mapping process from the acoustic signal to an abstract mental representation. Our findings are discussed with regard to current models of speech perception and recent findings from brain imaging research.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2013-11-222014-01-042014-02-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2013.11.007
PMID: 24653528
PMC: PMC3956075
 Degree: -

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Title: Lingua
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: -
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 140 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 35 - 51 Identifier: ISSN: 0024-3841
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925421093