Phonetic, Phonemic, and Phonological Factors in Cross-Language Discrimination of Phonotactic Contrasts

Lisa Davidson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Previous research indicates that multiple levels of linguistic information play a role in the perception and discrimination of non-native phonemes. This study examines the interaction of phonetic, phonemic and phonological factors in the discrimination of non-native phonotactic contrasts. Listeners of Catalan, English, and Russian are presented with an initial #CC-eC contrast in a discrimination task. For the Catalan group, the phonemes and their phonetic implementation were native, but the #CC phonotactics were not. For Russian listeners, the phonemes and phonetic implementation were not native but Russian allows a large number of #CC sequences. For English listeners, none of the phonetics, phonemes, nor phonotactics are native. Two task variables, stimuli length and order of presentation, were also manipulated. Results showed that the Russian listeners were most accurate overall, suggesting that the presence of the phonotactic structure in the listeners' native language may be more important than either phonemic or phonetic information. The interaction between the task manipulations and the linguistic variables is also addressed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)270-282
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 2011


    • Acoustics
    • Cross-language speech perception
    • Discrimination
    • Phonology
    • Phonotactics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Behavioral Neuroscience


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