Epenthetic vowels in Japanese: A perceptual illusion?

Dupoux, E. and Kakehi, K. and Hirose, Y. and Pallier, C. and Mehler, J. (1998) Epenthetic vowels in Japanese: A perceptual illusion? [Preprint]

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In four cross-linguistic experiments comparing French and Japanese hearers, we found that the phonotactic properties of Japanese (very reduced set of syllable types) induce Japanese listeners to perceive ``illusory'' vowels inside consonant clusters in VCCV stimuli. In Experiments 1 and 2, we used a continuum of stimuli ranging from no vowel (e.g. ebzo) to a full vowel between the consonants (e.g. ebuzo). Japanese, but not French participants, reported the presence of a vowel [u] between consonants, even in stimuli with no vowel. A speeded ABX discrimination paradigm was used in Experiments 3 and 4, and revealed that Japanese participants had trouble discriminating between VCCV and VCuCV stimuli. French participants, in contrast had problems discriminating items that differ in vowel length (ebuzo vs. ebuuzo), a distinctive contrast in Japanese but not in French. We conclude that models of speech perception have to be revised to account for phonotactically-based assimilations.

Item Type:Preprint
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Psycholinguistics
ID Code:747
Deposited By: Dupoux, Emmanuel
Deposited On:16 Oct 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54


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