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Special is especial: Perception and production biases in Spanish with /sp, st, sk/-initial pseudowords* Pierre A. Hallé & Juan Seguí (CNRS-Paris V, France)

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Presentation on theme: "Special is especial: Perception and production biases in Spanish with /sp, st, sk/-initial pseudowords* Pierre A. Hallé & Juan Seguí (CNRS-Paris V, France)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Special is especial: Perception and production biases in Spanish with /sp, st, sk/-initial pseudowords* Pierre A. Hallé & Juan Seguí (CNRS-Paris V, France) & Issue Addressed That Spanish speakers mishear and misproduce [e] at the onset of foreign words beginning with /s/+C (e.g., sport, smile) has sometimes been presented as a well-established fact [1]. Loanwords such as [estek] ‘steak’ or [esnob] ‘snob’ are well attested in Spanish [2], showing that a prothetic [e] is consistently misproduced in Spanish (similarly, schwa in Catalan [3]). Is (absent) [e] misheard? Experimental evidence re: hearing an illusory prothetic [e] is non-existent. This report bears on whether Spanish listeners hear an illusory [e] before initial ST (sibilant+stop). Experiment 1 Materials. E pseudowords such as *stado derived from ‘estado’ (/e/ base words) & !E pseudowords such as *scuro derived from ‘oscuro’ (V≠/e/ base words): 16 test items plus 38 filler items. One set produced by JS (Argentina Spanish), the other by XA (Castilian Spanish). Pseudowords are created from base words by deleting the initial vowel. Participants. 33 Ss in the XA set, 23 in the JS set; all University students in Cordoba (Argentina); moderate exposure to, e.g., English. Procedure. Open transcription. Results: Responses to E and !E pseudowords all began with ST, /e/+ST, or V≠/e/+ST. They are coded below as faithful, [e]-, or [≠e]- c (1) Figures 1-2. Responses to the E and !E pseudowords for the (1) JS and (2) XA sets. Summary (averaged across the JS & XA data): 1) faithful transcriptions are predominant (66.3%) 2) Other responses (~ 34%) are either /e/+ST to *stado (“estado”: recovery of /e/ base words, 34%), or to *scuro (nonword *“escuro”, 21%), or V≠/e/+ST to *scuro (“oscuro”: recovery of V≠/e/ words, 13%) Interpretation Prelexical phonology-driven perception explains about 21% of the “prothetic [e] illusion” (estimated as the % of /e/+ST responses to !E pseudowords). Lexical feedback explains about 13% of the illusion (estimated as the % of base word responses to !E pseudowords, or as the difference in % of /e/+ST responses to E and !E pseudowords). In Experiment 2, we try to confirm the prelexical effect. Experiment 2 Nonword materials (speaker JS): Critical: *scruma, *stolar, *spindo, *sprafe, *squifo, *scoler (checked for prothetic vowel: removed when found); 60 filler nonwords. Training: 10 items. 33 Ss (same population); same procedure as in E1 Results: Table 1. Results of Experiment 2 compared to the JS set data from Experiment 1. E2 (nonwords, JS)E1 (pseudowords, JS) Faithful83.8%Faithful71.9% /es/-15.7%“prelexical” /es/-12.6% a other nil“lexical” /es/-17.8% b a 12.6 is the % of /e/+ST responses to /a, i, u, o/ base words b 17.8 = (30.4 is % of /e/+ST resp. to /e/ base words) Thus, about 16% /es/- responses to ST nonwords that can’t be explained by lexical feedback. CONCLUSION Among the prothetic [e]s reported: – about 20% seem to be heard at a prelexical level (JS: 13%; XA: 28%); confirmed in Expt. 2 (ca. 16%). – about 13% seem to result from lexical feedback (JS: 18%; XA: 8%). The “prothetic [e] perceptual illusion” in Spanish seems to be driven by both prelexical and lexical percepts. It is sizable, but much weaker than the epenthetic /u/ illusion in Japanese [1], and probably not as strong as to explain production data. References [1] Dupoux, E., Kakehi, K., Hirose, Y., Pallier, C., & Mehler, J. (1999). Epenthetic vowel in Japanese: A perceptual illusion? J. Exp. Psy.: HPP, 25, [2] Harris, J. (1983). Syllable structure and stress in Spanish: A nonlinear analysis. Ling. Inq. Monographs 8. Cambridge: MIT Press. [3] Bonnet, E., & Lloret, M-R. (1998). Fonologia catalana. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel. (2) * This work was partly funded by the Programme d’Actions Concertées “PICASSO,“


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