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Speeded detection of vowels and steady-state consonants.
Norris, D., van Ooyen, B. & Cutler, A.
In Proceedings ICSLP 92 - International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Volume 2 (pp. 1055-1058). Edmonton: University of Alberta.
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We report two experiments in which vowels and steady-state consonants served as targets in a speeded detection task. In the first experiment, two vowels were compared with one voiced and one unvoiced fricative. Response times to the vowels were longer than to the fricatives. The error rate was higher for the consonants. Consonants in word-final position produced the shortest response times. For the vowels, both response times and error rates correlated negatively with target duration. In the second experiment, the same two vowel targets were compared with two nasals. This time there was no significant difference in response times, but the error rate was still significantly higher for the consonants. Again, length and error rate correlated negatively for the vowels. We conclude that response time differences between phonemes are independent of vocalic or consonantal status. Instead, we argue that the process of phoneme detection reflects more finely grained differences in acoustic/articulatory structure within the phonemic repertoire.