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Book Chapter

The role of syllabification in the lexical segmentation of German and Slovak


Hanulikova,  Adriana
Adaptive Listening, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Hanulikova, A. (2009). The role of syllabification in the lexical segmentation of German and Slovak. In S. Fuchs, H. Loevenbruck, D. Pape, & P. Perrier (Eds.), Some aspects of speech and the brain (pp. 331-361). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-2731-9
Two experiments were carried out to examine the syllable affiliation of intervocalic consonant clusters and their effects on speech segmentation in two different languages. In a syllable reversal task, Slovak and German speakers divided bisyllabic non-words that were presented aurally into two parts, starting with the second syllable. Following the maximal onset principle, intervocalic consonants should be maximally assigned to the onset of the following syllable in conformity with language-specific restrictions, e.g., /du.gru/, /zu.kro:/ (dot indicates a syllable boundary). According to German phonology, syllables require branching rhymes (hence, /zuk.ro:/). In Slovak, both /du.gru/ and /dug.ru/ are possible syllabifications. Experiment 1 showed that German speakers more often closed the first syllable (/zuk.ro:/), following the requirement for a branching rhyme. In Experiment 2, Slovak speakers showed no clear preference; the first syllable was either closed (/dug.ru/) or open (/du.gru/). Correlation analyses on previously conducted word-spotting studies (Hanulíková, in press, 2008) suggest that speech segmentation is unaffected by these syllabification preferences.