%A Christophe Pallier %T Phonemes and Syllables in Speech Perception: size of the attentional focus in French. %X A study by Pitt and Samuel (1990) found that English speakers could narrowly focus attention onto a precise phonemic position inside spoken words [1]. This led the authors to argue that the phoneme, rather than the syllable, is the primary unit of speech perception. Other evidence, obtained with a syllable detection paradigm, has been put forward to propose that the syllable is the unit of perception; yet, these experiments were ran with French speakers [2]. In the present study, we adapted Pitt & Samuel's phoneme detection experiment to French and found that French subjects behave exactly like English subjects: they too can focus attention on a precise phoneme. To explain both this result and the established sensitivity to the syllabic structure, we propose that the perceptual system automatically parses the speech signal into a syllabically-structured phonological representation. %D 1997 %K Psycholinguisics, unit of perception, speech, phoneme, syllable, attention, detection, reaction-times, phonological structure, segmentation %I University of Patras, Rion, Greece %P 2159-2162 %L cogprints751