Phonotactic well-formedness has an effect on speech processing. This is likely due to an independent sub-lexical representation of phonotactics. Researching that knowledge requires isolating it from indirect effects. A prominent indirect effect comes via lexical neighbourhood. The better phonotactically a word is, the more neighbours it has, the harder it is to recognise it. The present study examined the sublexical effect for phonotactically good word onsets with auditory priming. Word recognition was facilitated for good clusters, in spite of the larger number of lexical competitors. Word recognition latency is corrected for the effect of lexical neighbourhood, additional effects have their origin in the processing differences of the auditory primes. We found that words with good phonotactic onsets are recognised quicker, but that (destructive) manipulation of the prime onset destroys the benefit of good onsets, and can even revert it.
Bibliographic reference. Lentz, Tom (2008): "Phonotactically well-formed onset clusters as processing units in word recognition", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 2052-2055.