CBSU bibliography search
To request a reprint of a CBSU publication, please click here to send us an email (reprints may not be available for all publications)
The possible-word constraint in the segmentation of continuous speech.
NORRIS, D., McQueen, J.M., Cutler, A. & BUTTERFIELD, S.
Cognitive Psychology, 34, 191-243.
Year of publication:
We propose that word recognition in continuous speech is subject to constraints on what may constitute a viable word of the language. The Possible-Word Constraint (PWC) reduces activation of candidate words if their recognition would imply word status for adjacent input which could not be a word - for instance, a single consonant. In two word-spotting experiments, listeners found it much harder to detect *apple*, for examble, in *fapple* (where [f] alone would be an impossible word), than in *vuffapple* (where *vuff* could be a word of English). We demonstrate that the PWC can readily be implemented in a competition-based model of continuous speech recognition, as a constraint on the process of competition between candidate words; where a stretch of speech between a candidate word and a (known or likely) word boundary is not a possible word, activation of the candidate word i reduced. This implementation accurately simulates both the present results and data from a range of earlier studies of speech segmentation.