Phonetic bases of similarities in cross-language production: Evidence from English and Catalan

Lisa Davidson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Previous research has shown that speakers do not produce all non-native phonotactic sequences with equal accuracy. Several reasons for these accuracy differences have been proposed, including markedness, analogical extension from permitted sequences, and language-independent phonetic factors. In this study, evidence from the production of unattested obstruent-initial onset clusters by English and Catalan speakers tests the viability of these explanations. Variables manipulated in this study include the manner, place, and voicing of the consonant clusters, and the input modality of the stimuli-whether speakers were presented the stimuli in an audio+text condition, or in an audio-only condition. Results demonstrate none of the linguistic factors interacted with language background; all speakers were less accurate on stop-initial sequences than fricative-initial ones, and on voiced sequences than voiceless sequences. It is argued that the fact that the particular accuracy patterns are independent of language background is incompatible with an analogy-based explanation, and is better accounted for by language-independent phonetic factors. However, the role of the native language phonology is reflected in the preferred repair types, which vary by native language. Finally, while the presence of text improves performance, the patterns of accuracy are still largely the same for both audio+text and audio-only input, suggesting that the underlying mechanisms responsible for speech production are independent of input modality.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)272-288
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Phonetics
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Speech and Hearing


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