5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

Assimilation and Anticipation in Word Perception

Hugo Quené, Maya van Rossum, Mieke van Wijck

Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Words in connected speech are often assimilated to subsequent words. Some property of that upcoming word may then be determined in advance; these advance assimilatory cues may facilitate perception of that word. A gating experiment was conducted in Dutch, studying anticipatory voice assimilation between plosives, in 24 two-word combinations. In Dutch, voicing in a word-final plosive can only be caused by anticipatory assimilation to the next, voiced initial plosive, e.g. "rie[db]lint". Voiced and unvoiced variants of final and initial plosives were cross-spliced. Responses for assimilated, voiced-final stimuli show a strong bias to voiced-initial responses, as predicted. Even at longer gates in the hybrid condition "rie[dp]lint", after hearing the unvoiced initial plosive, listeners often came up with a voiced-initial response, with high confidence. Hence, advance phonological 'voiced-initial' cues were often stronger than acoustic 'unvoiced-initial' cues. These gating results suggest that listeners use advance assimilatory cues in word perception.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Quené, Hugo / Rossum, Maya van / Wijck, Mieke van (1998): "Assimilation and anticipation in word perception", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0113.