Assessing the distinctiveness of phonological features in word recognition: Prelexical and lexical influences

Alexander Martin, Sharon Peperkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Phonological features have been shown to differ from one another in their perceptual weight during word recognition. Here, we examine two possible sources of these asymmetries: bottom-up acoustic perception (some featural contrasts are acoustically more different than others), and top-down lexical knowledge (some contrasts are used more to distinguish words in the lexicon). We focus on French nouns, in which voicing mispronunciations are perceived as closer to canonical pronunciations than both place and manner mispronunciations, indicating that voicing is less important than place and manner for distinguishing words from one another. We find that this result can be accounted for by coalescing the two sources of bias. First, using a prelexical discrimination paradigm, we show that manner contrasts have the highest baseline perceptual salience, while there is no difference between place and voicing. Second, using a novel method to compute the functional load of phonological features, we show that the place feature is most often recruited to distinguish nouns in the French lexicon, while voicing and manner are exploited equally often.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Volume62
Early online date16 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

Keywords

  • word recognition
  • phonological features
  • perceptual similarity
  • lexicon
  • functional load

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the distinctiveness of phonological features in word recognition: Prelexical and lexical influences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this