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Perceptual Compensation for Acoustic Effects of Nasal Coupling by Spanish and Portuguese Listeners
C. Elizabeth Goodin-Mayeda
75-83 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


It has often been observed that a listener's first language affects the way in which a second (or third, fourth, etc.) language is perceived (Flege, 1995; Flege, Yeni-Komshian, & Liu, 1999; Sapir, 1921 and others). In addition to linguistic experience, acoustic effects of coarticulation influence adult speech perception. For example, nasalization of vowels has been shown to affect the perception of vowel height due to its spectral consequences in the region associated with vowel height (Krakow, Beddor, Goldstein, & Fowler, 1988; Ohala, 1986; Wright, 1975). In spite of the perceptual influences of coarticulation, listeners have been shown to factor out coarticulatory acoustic effects under certain conditions (Krakow et al., 1988; Mann, 1986; Ohala, 1981, 1986, 1996). Krakow et al. (1988), for example, showed that English speakers were able to perceptually compensate for the acoustic effects of nasal coupling when they could attribute such effects to an adjacent tautosyllabic consonant. A question that remains unanswered is whether English speakers are able to perceptually compensate for the coarticulatory effects of nasalization due to universal perceptual mechanisms (Mann, 1986) or due to the fact that they have experience with contextual nasal vowels (i.e. nasal vowels followed by a tautosyllabic nasal consonant) but not noncontextual nasal vowels (i.e. nasal vowels not followed by a nasal consonant). The current study seeks to discover whether the ability to perceptually compensate for acoustic effects of nasal coupling is due to universal perceptual mechanisms or whether it is dependent on language experience by testing speakers of Brazilian Portuguese and Castilian Spanish. Results support that compensation for coarticulatory influences of nasalization is dependent on linguistic experience.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Romance Phonology
edited by Scott M. Alvord
Table of contents
Printed edition: $225.00