Gradient perception of laryngeal contrast of stops in English and Korean: Eye-tracking evidence

Publication Type:

Conference Presentations


161th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Seattle, WA (2011)


Categorical perception implies that listeners discard subphonemic acoustic variation and attend only to higher-level phonemic representations. However, a number of studies have shown that listeners are also sensitive to sub-phonemic fine phonetic detail, given the appropriate task. The current study aimed to investigate gradient perception of the stop voicing contrast using an anticipatory eye movement paradigm. Specifically, our study examined English- and Korean-speaking adults’ sensitivity to changes in VOT and f0 parameters that differentiated their native stop voicing categories. The stimuli varied VOT values in six steps 9–59-ms and f0 in five steps 98–114 Hz in synthesized CV syllables, with a vocalic source from either a male speaker of English or Korean. Adult listeners’ anticipatory eye movements to the target categories were collected, as they listened to a series of stimuli. Looking latencies were assessed in a mixed-effect regression model. Preliminary results found gradient responses to VOT changes for both English and Korean speakers as well as evidence of sensitivity to f0 for Korean, but not English speakers. Results are also presented for bilingual English-Korean speakers, who were asked to perform the task in both English and Korean.

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