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      The VOT Category Boundary in Word-Initial Stops: Counter-Evidence Against Rate Normalization in English Spontaneous Speech

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      Laboratory Phonology

      Ubiquity Press

      VOT, category boundary, English, spontaneous speech, rate normalization

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          Abstract

          Some languages, such as many varieties of English, use short-lag and long-lag VOT to distinguish word- and syllable-initial voiced vs. voiceless stop phonemes. According to a popular view, the optimal VOT category boundary between the two types of stops moves towards larger values as articulation rate becomes slower (and speech segments longer), and listeners accordingly shift the perceptual VOT category boundary. According to an alternative view, listeners do not shift the VOT category boundary with a change in articulation rate, because the same category boundary remains optimal across different rates of articulation in normal speech, although a shift in the optimal boundary location can be induced in the laboratory by instructing speakers to use artificially extreme articulation rates. In this study we compared the effectiveness of rate-independent VOT category boundaries applied to word-initial stop phonemes in spontaneous English speech, against the effectiveness of Miller et al.’s ( 1986) rate-dependent VOT category boundary applied to laboratory speech. The effectiveness of the two types of category boundaries were comparable, when spontaneous speech data were controlled for factors other than articulation rate. Our results suggest that perceptual VOT category boundaries need not shift with a change in articulation rate under normal circumstances.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Mechanisms of interaction in speech production.

          Many theories predict the presence of interactive effects involving information represented by distinct cognitive processes in speech production. There is considerably less agreement regarding the precise cognitive mechanisms that underlie these interactive effects. For example, are they driven by purely production-internal mechanisms (e.g., Dell, 1986) or do they reflect the influence of perceptual monitoring mechanisms on production processes (e.g., Roelofs, 2004)? Acoustic analyses reveal the phonetic realization of words is influenced by their word-specific properties-supporting the presence of interaction between lexical-level and phonetic information in speech production. A second experiment examines what mechanisms are responsible for this interactive effect. The results suggest the effect occurs on-line and is not purely driven by listener modeling. These findings are consistent with the presence of an interactive mechanism that is online and internal to the production system.
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            Information Conveyed by Vowels

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              Speaking rationally: Uniform information density as an optimal strategy for language production

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                1868-6354
                Laboratory Phonology
                Ubiquity Press
                1868-6354
                07 October 2016
                : 7
                : 1
                Affiliations
                Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre, Queen Margaret University, UK
                Article
                10.5334/labphon.49
                Copyright: © 2016 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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