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Speech perception and phonology: How they interact (and how they don't).

Dr. Shigeto Kawahara

Thursday, October 16, 2008, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Department of Linguistics

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In this talk, I address the following general issue: how speech perception and phonology interact and how they don't? I first discuss how factors in speech perception affect phonological patterns (how we organize sounds). I show that, based on a phonological analysis and experimental studies of Japanese voiced consonants, perceptibility plays a crucial role in shaping novel phonological patterns. It will be also argued however that phonology is flexible enough to be able to handle patterns that make little phonetic sense, when sound changes come into picture.

Next I turn around and ask how our phonological knowledge affects speech perception. Based on a cross-linguistic study on the perception of duration, I show that while the perception of speech stimuli is affected by our native knowledge, the perception of non-speech stimuli is not.

Overall, I conclude that (i) speech perception and phonological patterns are closely tied to each other, (ii) but they are nevertheless independent systems.

Dr. Shigeto Kawahara