Phonotactic experience conditions speech perception


Alex Kilpatrick - PhD completion talk

Numerous studies have shown that native phonotactic constraints influence listeners’ perception of non-native speech. These studies typically find that listeners sometimes experience illusions when exposed to phonotactically unattested sequences of speech. This behaviour is often characterised as perceptual repair because such illusions modify the incoming sequences so that they adhere to the phonotactic constraints of the listener’s native language. The following dissertation explores the various ways that phonotactic experience conditions such repair in several perceptual experiments. Predictions are made for the outcome in each experiment based upon transitional probability, co-occurrence frequency, allophonic variability and the likelihood that phonotactic constraints are adhered to in an Optimality Theory framework. The results of these experiments reveal a clear effect of phonotactic expectedness, whereby listener expectations—based upon phonotactic experience—can override acoustic input.


  •  Alex Kilpatrick
    Alex Kilpatrick, University of Melbourne