Segmentation and Ambiguity in Spoken Word Recognition
Matthew H. Davis and William D. Marslen-Wilson
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 2EF, UK
M. Gareth Gaskell
Department of Psychology, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK.
Ambiguity created by short words embedded in longer words (e.g. cap in captain) has been used to motivate models of spoken word recognition in which short words are identified after their offset. Two gating studies, a forced-choice identification study and two series of cross-modal repetition priming experiments traced the time-course of recognition of words with onset-embeddings (captain) and short words in contexts that match (cap tucked) or mismatch (cap looking) with longer words. Results suggest that acoustic differences in embedded syllables assist the perceptual system in discriminating short words from the start of longer words. The ambiguity created by embedded words is therefore not as severe as predicted by models based on phonemic representations. These additional acoustic cues combine with post-offset information in identifying onset-embedded words in connected speech.
Accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.
Download a .pdf pre-print here.