7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

September 16-20, 2002
Denver, Colorado, USA

Syllable Processing in English

Ruth Kearns (1), Dennis Norris (1), Anne Cutler (2)

(1) MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, U.K.; (2) Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands

We describe a reaction time study in which listeners detected word or nonword syllable targets (e.g. zoo, trel) in sequences consisting of the target plus a consonant or syllable residue (trelsh, trelshek). The pattern of responses differed from an earlier word-spotting study with the same material, in which words were always harder to find if only a consonant residue remained. The earlier results should thus not be viewed in terms of syllabic parsing, but in terms of a universal role for syllables in speech perception; words which are accidentally present in spoken input (e.g. sell in self) can be rejected when they leave a residue of the input which could not itself be a word.


Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kearns, Ruth / Norris, Dennis / Cutler, Anne (2002): "Syllable processing in English", In ICSLP-2002, 1657-1660.