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      Phonology modulates the illusory vowels in perceptual illusions: Evidence from Mandarin and English

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          Abstract

          Native speakers perceive illusory vowels when presented with sound sequences that do not respect the phonotactic constraints of their language ( Dupoux, Kakehi, Hirose, Pallier, & Mehler, 1999; Kabak & Idsardi, 2007). There is, however, less work on the quality of the illusory vowel. Recently, it has been claimed that the quality of the illusory vowel is also modulated by the phonology of the language, and that the phenomenon of illusory vowels can be understood as a result of the listener reverse inferring the best parse of the underlying representation given their native language phonology and the acoustics of the input stream ( Durvasula & Kahng, 2015). The view predicts that listeners are likely to hear different illusory vowels in different phonological contexts. In support of this prediction, we show through two perceptual experiments that Mandarin Chinese speakers (but not American English speakers) perceive different illusory vowels in different phonotactic contexts. Specifically, when presented with phonotactically illegal alveopalatal coda consonants, Mandarin speakers perceived an illusory /i/, but in illegal alveolar stop coda contexts, they perceived a /ə/.

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          Most cited references 25

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          The relationship between the perception of non-native phonotactics and loanword adaptation

           Lisa Davidson (2007)
          This study examines how phonetic details produced by non-bilingual borrowers (‘disseminators’) are categorised when new words are transmitted to the monolinguals of the borrowing language community (‘recipients’). The stimuli are based on research showing that the schwa inserted by English speakers into non-native clusters (e.g. /zgmo/→[z gmo]) differs acoustically from lexical schwa (e.g. [zgmo]). In , listeners transcribed Cluster (CC), Lexical (CC) and Transitional (C C) stimuli produced by an English speaker. Transcriptions of C C stimuli were split between CC and CVC, and participants wrote C C with a vowel less often than they did CC. demonstrated that listeners had difficulty discriminating between C C and both CC and CC. These findings suggest that C C is acoustically intermediate between clusters and schwas; thus recipients may assign C C token to either of the phonotactic categories CC or CC. The ramifications of these findings for loanwords and the acquisition of phonological contrast are discussed.
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            Sources of illusion in consonant cluster perception

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              Analysis by synthesis: A (re-)emerging program of research for language and vision

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                1868-6354
                Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology
                Ubiquity Press
                1868-6354
                27 April 2018
                2018
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Michigan State University, US
                Article
                10.5334/labphon.57
                Copyright: © 2018 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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