10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

Semantic Context Effects in the Recognition of Acoustically Unreduced and Reduced Words

Chao Wang (1), Johan Schalkwyk (2), Roberto Sicconi (3), Geoffrey Zweig (4), Marco van de Ven (5), Benjamin V. Tucker (6), Mirjam Ernestus (7)

(1) Vlingo, USA
(2) Google Inc., USA
(3) IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA
(4) Microsoft Research, USA
(5) Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands
(6) University of Alberta, Canada
(7) Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Listeners require context to understand the casual pronunciation variants of words that are typical of spontaneous speech [1]. The present study reports two auditory lexical decision experiments, investigating listeners’ use of semantic contextual information in the comprehension of unreduced and reduced words. We found a strong semantic priming effect for low frequency unreduced words, whereas there was no such effect for reduced words. Word frequency was facilitatory for all words. These results show that semantic context is relevant especially for the comprehension of unreduced words, which is unexpected given the listener driven explanation of reduction in spontaneous speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wang, Chao / Schalkwyk, Johan / Sicconi, Roberto / Zweig, Geoffrey / Ven, Marco van de / Tucker, Benjamin V. / Ernestus, Mirjam (2009): "Semantic context effects in the recognition of acoustically unreduced and reduced words", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 1867-1870.