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Bookmark and Share Paper 3366

Markedness Effects in Visual Processing of Nonnative Onset Clusters
Mackenzie Young and Colin Wilson
582-589 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The authors examined markedness effects in the processing of orthographic stimuli beginning with onset clusters that varied in sonority profile. Using a speeded orthographic same-different matching task, the authors found that presence of the most marked cluster type led to slower responses in two types of 'different' comparison: one in which a vowel was epenthesized into the cluster (e.g., rkip - REKIP), and one in which a vowel was inserted at the end of the word (e.g., rkip - RKIPE). The pattern of results suggests that, unlike in experiments with auditory stimuli, English speakers do not apply vowel epenthesis to repair visually-presented stimuli at any level of representation. To account for the experimental findings the authors developed an encoding precision hypothesis, according to which the observed processing slow-down reflects lower fidelity encoding (and hence greater target-probe similarity) for highly marked forms. The hypothesis is formalized within a general framework for gradient symbolic representation and computation. The results presented are consistent with the view that a common set of markedness constraints have diverse effects that reflect modality-specific perceptual challenges.

Published in

Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
Table of contents
Printed edition: $410.00