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Journal Article

Planning and articulation in incremental word production: Syllable-frequency effects in English


Levelt,  Willem J. M.
Language Production Group Levelt, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Cholin, J., Dell, G. S., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2011). Planning and articulation in incremental word production: Syllable-frequency effects in English. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 109-122. doi:10.1037/a0021322.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-C87E-D
We investigated the role of syllables during speech planning in English by measuring syllable-frequency effects. So far, syllable-frequency effects in English have not been reported. English has poorly defined syllable boundaries, and thus the syllable might not function as a prominent unit in English speech production. Speakers produced either monosyllabic (Experiment 1) or disyllabic (Experiment 2–4) pseudowords as quickly as possible in response to symbolic cues. Monosyllabic targets consisted of either high- or low-frequency syllables, whereas disyllabic items contained either a 1st or 2nd syllable that was frequency-manipulated. Significant syllable-frequency effects were found in all experiments. Whereas previous findings for disyllables in Dutch and Spanish—languages with relatively clear syllable boundaries—showed effects of a frequency manipulation on 1st but not 2nd syllables, in our study English speakers were sensitive to the frequency of both syllables. We interpret this sensitivity as an indication that the production of English has more extensive planning scopes at the interface of phonetic encoding and articulation.