Anne Cutler

Publications

Displaying 1 - 24 of 24
  • Cutler, A., & Bruggeman, L. (2013). Vocabulary structure and spoken-word recognition: Evidence from French reveals the source of embedding asymmetry. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH: 14th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2812-2816).

    Abstract

    Vocabularies contain hundreds of thousands of words built from only a handful of phonemes, so that inevitably longer words tend to contain shorter ones. In many languages (but not all) such embedded words occur more often word-initially than word-finally, and this asymmetry, if present, has farreaching consequences for spoken-word recognition. Prior research had ascribed the asymmetry to suffixing or to effects of stress (in particular, final syllables containing the vowel schwa). Analyses of the standard French vocabulary here reveal an effect of suffixing, as predicted by this account, and further analyses of an artificial variety of French reveal that extensive final schwa has an independent and additive effect in promoting the embedding asymmetry.
  • Johnson, E. K., Lahey, M., Ernestus, M., & Cutler, A. (2013). A multimodal corpus of speech to infant and adult listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134, EL534-EL540. doi:10.1121/1.4828977.

    Abstract

    An audio and video corpus of speech addressed to 28 11-month-olds is described. The corpus allows comparisons between adult speech directed towards infants, familiar adults and unfamiliar adult addressees, as well as of caregivers’ word teaching strategies across word classes. Summary data show that infant-directed speech differed more from speech to unfamiliar than familiar adults; that word teaching strategies for nominals versus verbs and adjectives differed; that mothers mostly addressed infants with multi-word utterances; and that infants’ vocabulary size was unrelated to speech rate, but correlated positively with predominance of continuous caregiver speech (not of isolated words) in the input.
  • Kooijman, V., Junge, C., Johnson, E. K., Hagoort, P., & Cutler, A. (2013). Predictive brain signals of linguistic development. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 25. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00025.

    Abstract

    The ability to extract word forms from continuous speech is a prerequisite for constructing a vocabulary and emerges in the first year of life. Electrophysiological (ERP) studies of speech segmentation by 9- to 12-month-old listeners in several languages have found a left-localized negativity linked to word onset as a marker of word detection. We report an ERP study showing significant evidence of speech segmentation in Dutch-learning 7-month-olds. In contrast to the left-localized negative effect reported with older infants, the observed overall mean effect had a positive polarity. Inspection of individual results revealed two participant sub-groups: a majority showing a positive-going response, and a minority showing the left negativity observed in older age groups. We retested participants at age three, on vocabulary comprehension and word and sentence production. On every test, children who at 7 months had shown the negativity associated with segmentation of words from speech outperformed those who had produced positive-going brain responses to the same input. The earlier that infants show the left-localized brain responses typically indicating detection of words in speech, the better their early childhood language skills.
  • Otake, T., & Cutler, A. (2013). Lexical selection in action: Evidence from spontaneous punning. Language and Speech, 56(4), 555-573. doi:10.1177/0023830913478933.

    Abstract

    Analysis of a corpus of spontaneously produced Japanese puns from a single speaker over a two-year period provides a view of how a punster selects a source word for a pun and transforms it into another word for humorous effect. The pun-making process is driven by a principle of similarity: the source word should as far as possible be preserved (in terms of segmental sequence) in the pun. This renders homophones (English example: band–banned) the pun type of choice, with part–whole relationships of embedding (cap–capture), and mutations of the source word (peas–bees) rather less favored. Similarity also governs mutations in that single-phoneme substitutions outnumber larger changes, and in phoneme substitutions, subphonemic features tend to be preserved. The process of spontaneous punning thus applies, on line, the same similarity criteria as govern explicit similarity judgments and offline decisions about pun success (e.g., for inclusion in published collections). Finally, the process of spoken-word recognition is word-play-friendly in that it involves multiple word-form activation and competition, which, coupled with known techniques in use in difficult listening conditions, enables listeners to generate most pun types as offshoots of normal listening procedures.
  • Van der Zande, P., Jesse, A., & Cutler, A. (2013). Lexically guided retuning of visual phonetic categories. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134, 562-571. doi:10.1121/1.4807814.

    Abstract

    Listeners retune the boundaries between phonetic categories to adjust to individual speakers' productions. Lexical information, for example, indicates what an unusual sound is supposed to be, and boundary retuning then enables the speaker's sound to be included in the appropriate auditory phonetic category. In this study, it was investigated whether lexical knowledge that is known to guide the retuning of auditory phonetic categories, can also retune visual phonetic categories. In Experiment 1, exposure to a visual idiosyncrasy in ambiguous audiovisually presented target words in a lexical decision task indeed resulted in retuning of the visual category boundary based on the disambiguating lexical context. In Experiment 2 it was tested whether lexical information retunes visual categories directly, or indirectly through the generalization from retuned auditory phonetic categories. Here, participants were exposed to auditory-only versions of the same ambiguous target words as in Experiment 1. Auditory phonetic categories were retuned by lexical knowledge, but no shifts were observed for the visual phonetic categories. Lexical knowledge can therefore guide retuning of visual phonetic categories, but lexically guided retuning of auditory phonetic categories is not generalized to visual categories. Rather, listeners adjust auditory and visual phonetic categories to talker idiosyncrasies separately.
  • Cooper, N., & Cutler, A. (2004). Perception of non-native phonemes in noise. In S. Kin, & M. J. Bae (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (Interspeech 2004-ICSLP) (pp. 469-472). Seoul: Sunjijn Printing Co.

    Abstract

    We report an investigation of the perception of American English phonemes by Dutch listeners proficient in English. Listeners identified either the consonant or the vowel in most possible English CV and VC syllables. The syllables were embedded in multispeaker babble at three signal-to-noise ratios (16 dB, 8 dB, and 0 dB). Effects of signal-to-noise ratio on vowel and consonant identification are discussed as a function of syllable position and of relationship to the native phoneme inventory. Comparison of the results with previously reported data from native listeners reveals that noise affected the responding of native and non-native listeners similarly.
  • Cutler, A., Weber, A., Smits, R., & Cooper, N. (2004). Patterns of English phoneme confusions by native and non-native listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116(6), 3668-3678. doi:10.1121/1.1810292.

    Abstract

    Native American English and non-native(Dutch)listeners identified either the consonant or the vowel in all possible American English CV and VC syllables. The syllables were embedded in multispeaker babble at three signal-to-noise ratios(0, 8, and 16 dB). The phoneme identification performance of the non-native listeners was less accurate than that of the native listeners. All listeners were adversely affected by noise. With these isolated syllables, initial segments were harder to identify than final segments. Crucially, the effects of language background and noise did not interact; the performance asymmetry between the native and non-native groups was not significantly different across signal-to-noise ratios. It is concluded that the frequently reported disproportionate difficulty of non-native listening under disadvantageous conditions is not due to a disproportionate increase in phoneme misidentifications.
  • Cutler, A., Norris, D., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2004). Phonemic repertoire and similarity within the vocabulary. In S. Kin, & M. J. Bae (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (Interspeech 2004-ICSLP) (pp. 65-68). Seoul: Sunjijn Printing Co.

    Abstract

    Language-specific differences in the size and distribution of the phonemic repertoire can have implications for the task facing listeners in recognising spoken words. A language with more phonemes will allow shorter words and reduced embedding of short words within longer ones, decreasing the potential for spurious lexical competitors to be activated by speech signals. We demonstrate that this is the case via comparative analyses of the vocabularies of English and Spanish. A language which uses suprasegmental as well as segmental contrasts, however, can substantially reduce the extent of spurious embedding.
  • Cutler, A. (2004). On spoken-word recognition in a second language. Newsletter, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, 47, 15-15.
  • Weber, A., & Cutler, A. (2004). Lexical competition in non-native spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 50(1), 1-25. doi:10.1016/S0749-596X(03)00105-0.

    Abstract

    Four eye-tracking experiments examined lexical competition in non-native spoken-word recognition. Dutch listeners hearing English fixated longer on distractor pictures with names containing vowels that Dutch listeners are likely to confuse with vowels in a target picture name (pencil, given target panda) than on less confusable distractors (beetle, given target bottle). English listeners showed no such viewing time difference. The confusability was asymmetric: given pencil as target, panda did not distract more than distinct competitors. Distractors with Dutch names phonologically related to English target names (deksel, ‘lid,’ given target desk) also received longer fixations than distractors with phonologically unrelated names. Again, English listeners showed no differential effect. With the materials translated into Dutch, Dutch listeners showed no activation of the English words (desk, given target deksel). The results motivate two conclusions: native phonemic categories capture second-language input even when stored representations maintain a second-language distinction; and lexical competition is greater for non-native than for native listeners.
  • Cooper, N., Cutler, A., & Wales, R. (2002). Constraints of lexical stress on lexical access in English: Evidence from native and non-native listeners. Language and Speech, 45(3), 207-228.

    Abstract

    Four cross-modal priming experiments and two forced-choice identification experiments investigated the use of suprasegmental cues to stress in the recognition of spoken English words, by native (English-speaking) and non- native (Dutch) listeners. Previous results had indicated that suprasegmental information was exploited in lexical access by Dutch but not by English listeners. For both listener groups, recognition of visually presented target words was faster, in comparison to a control condition, after stress-matching spoken primes, either monosyllabic (mus- from MUsic /muSEum) or bisyl labic (admi- from ADmiral/admiRAtion). For native listeners, the effect of stress-mismatching bisyllabic primes was not different from that of control primes, but mismatching monosyllabic primes produced partial facilitation. For non-native listeners, both bisyllabic and monosyllabic stress-mismatching primes produced partial facilitation. Native English listeners thus can exploit suprasegmental information in spoken-word recognition, but information from two syllables is used more effectively than information from one syllable. Dutch listeners are less proficient at using suprasegmental information in English than in their native language, but, as in their native language, use mono- and bisyllabic information to an equal extent. In forced-choice identification, Dutch listeners outperformed native listeners at correctly assigning a monosyllabic fragment (e.g., mus-) to one of two words differing in stress.
  • Cutler, A. (2002). Native listeners. European Review, 10(1), 27-41. doi:10.1017/S1062798702000030.

    Abstract

    Becoming a native listener is the necessary precursor to becoming a native speaker. Babies in the first year of life undertake a remarkable amount of work; by the time they begin to speak, they have perceptually mastered the phonological repertoire and phoneme co-occurrence probabilities of the native language, and they can locate familiar word-forms in novel continuous-speech contexts. The skills acquired at this early stage form a necessary part of adult listening. However, the same native listening skills also underlie problems in listening to a late-acquired non-native language, accounting for why in such a case listening (an innate ability) is sometimes paradoxically more difficult than, for instance, reading (a learned ability).
  • Cutler, A., & Otake, T. (2002). Rhythmic categories in spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 46(2), 296-322. doi:10.1006/jmla.2001.2814.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic categories such as morae in Japanese or stress units in English play a role in the perception of spoken language. We examined this role in Japanese, since recent evidence suggests that morae may intervene as structural units in word recognition. First, we found that traditional puns more often substituted part of a mora than a whole mora. Second, when listeners reconstructed distorted words, e.g. panorama from panozema, responses were faster and more accurate when only a phoneme was distorted (panozama, panorema) than when a whole CV mora was distorted (panozema). Third, lexical decisions on the same nonwords were better predicted by duration and number of phonemes from nonword uniqueness point to word end than by number of morae. Our results indicate no role for morae in early spoken-word processing; we propose that rhythmic categories constrain not initial lexical activation but subsequent processes of speech segmentation and selection among word candidates.
  • Cutler, A., McQueen, J. M., Jansonius, M., & Bayerl, S. (2002). The lexical statistics of competitor activation in spoken-word recognition. In C. Bow (Ed.), Proceedings of the 9th Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (pp. 40-45). Canberra: Australian Speech Science and Technology Association (ASSTA).

    Abstract

    The Possible Word Constraint is a proposed mechanism whereby listeners avoid recognising words spuriously embedded in other words. It applies to words leaving a vowelless residue between their edge and the nearest known word or syllable boundary. The present study tests the usefulness of this constraint via lexical statistics of both English and Dutch. The analyses demonstrate that the constraint removes a clear majority of embedded words in speech, and thus can contribute significantly to the efficiency of human speech recognition
  • Cutler, A., Demuth, K., & McQueen, J. M. (2002). Universality versus language-specificity in listening to running speech. Psychological Science, 13(3), 258-262. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00447.

    Abstract

    Recognizing spoken language involves automatic activation of multiple candidate words. The process of selection between candidates is made more efficient by inhibition of embedded words (like egg in beg) that leave a portion of the input stranded (here, b). Results from European languages suggest that this inhibition occurs when consonants are stranded but not when syllables are stranded. The reason why leftover syllables do not lead to inhibition could be that in principle they might themselves be words; in European languages, a syllable can be a word. In Sesotho (a Bantu language), however, a single syllable cannot be a word. We report that in Sesotho, word recognition is inhibited by stranded consonants, but stranded monosyllables produce no more difficulty than stranded bisyllables (which could be Sesotho words). This finding suggests that the viability constraint which inhibits spurious embedded word candidates is not sensitive to language-specific word structure, but is universal.
  • Kearns, R. K., Norris, D., & Cutler, A. (2002). Syllable processing in English. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing [ICSLP 2002] (pp. 1657-1660).

    Abstract

    We describe a reaction time study in which listeners detected word or nonword syllable targets (e.g. zoo, trel) in sequences consisting of the target plus a consonant or syllable residue (trelsh, trelshek). The pattern of responses differed from an earlier word-spotting study with the same material, in which words were always harder to find if only a consonant residue remained. The earlier results should thus not be viewed in terms of syllabic parsing, but in terms of a universal role for syllables in speech perception; words which are accidentally present in spoken input (e.g. sell in self) can be rejected when they leave a residue of the input which could not itself be a word.
  • Kuijpers, C., Van Donselaar, W., & Cutler, A. (2002). Perceptual effects of assimilation-induced violation of final devoicing in Dutch. In J. H. L. Hansen, & B. Pellum (Eds.), The 7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (pp. 1661-1664). Denver: ICSA.

    Abstract

    Voice assimilation in Dutch is an optional phonological rule which changes the surface forms of words and in doing so may violate the otherwise obligatory phonological rule of syllablefinal devoicing. We report two experiments examining the influence of voice assimilation on phoneme processing, in lexical compound words and in noun-verb phrases. Processing was not impaired in appropriate assimilation contexts across morpheme boundaries, but was impaired when devoicing was violated (a) in an inappropriate non-assimilatory) context, or (b) across a syntactic boundary.
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2002). Bias effects in facilitatory phonological priming. Memory & Cognition, 30(3), 399-411.

    Abstract

    In four experiments, we examined the facilitation that occurs when spoken-word targets rhyme with preceding spoken primes. In Experiment 1, listeners’ lexical decisions were faster to words following rhyming words (e.g., ramp–LAMP) than to words following unrelated primes (e.g., pink–LAMP). No facilitation was observed for nonword targets. Targets that almost rhymed with their primes (foils; e.g., bulk–SULSH) were included in Experiment 2; facilitation for rhyming targets was severely attenuated. Experiments 3 and 4 were single-word shadowing variants of the earlier experiments. There was facilitation for both rhyming words and nonwords; the presence of foils had no significant influence on the priming effect. A major component of the facilitation in lexical decision appears to be strategic: Listeners are biased to say “yes” to targets that rhyme with their primes, unless foils discourage this strategy. The nonstrategic component of phonological facilitation may reflect speech perception processes that operate prior to lexical access.
  • Spinelli, E., Cutler, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2002). Resolution of liaison for lexical access in French. Revue Française de Linguistique Appliquée, 7, 83-96.

    Abstract

    Spoken word recognition involves automatic activation of lexical candidates compatible with the perceived input. In running speech, words abut one another without intervening gaps, and syllable boundaries can mismatch with word boundaries. For instance, liaison in ’petit agneau’ creates a syllable beginning with a consonant although ’agneau’ begins with a vowel. In two cross-modal priming experiments we investigate how French listeners recognise words in liaison environments. These results suggest that the resolution of liaison in part depends on acoustic cues which distinguish liaison from non-liaison consonants, and in part on the availability of lexical support for a liaison interpretation.
  • Scott, D. R., & Cutler, A. (1984). Segmental phonology and the perception of syntactic structure. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 23, 450-466. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science//journal/00225371.

    Abstract

    Recent research in speech production has shown that syntactic structure is reflected in segmental phonology--the application of certain phonological rules of English (e.g., palatalization and alveolar flapping) is inhibited across phrase boundaries. We examined whether such segmental effects can be used in speech perception as cues to syntactic structure, and the relation between the use of these segmental features as syntactic markers in production and perception. Speakers of American English (a dialect in which the above segmental effects occur) could indeed use the segmental cues in syntax perception; speakers of British English (in which the effects do not occur) were unable to make use of them, while speakers of British English who were long-term residents of the United States showed intermediate performance.
  • Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1983). A language-specific comprehension strategy [Letters to Nature]. Nature, 304, 159-160. doi:10.1038/304159a0.

    Abstract

    Infants acquire whatever language is spoken in the environment into which they are born. The mental capability of the newborn child is not biased in any way towards the acquisition of one human language rather than another. Because psychologists who attempt to model the process of language comprehension are interested in the structure of the human mind, rather than in the properties of individual languages, strategies which they incorporate in their models are presumed to be universal, not language-specific. In other words, strategies of comprehension are presumed to be characteristic of the human language processing system, rather than, say, the French, English, or Igbo language processing systems. We report here, however, on a comprehension strategy which appears to be used by native speakers of French but not by native speakers of English.
  • Cutler, A. (1983). Semantics, syntax and sentence accent. In M. Van den Broecke, & A. Cohen (Eds.), Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 85-91). Dordrecht: Foris.
  • Levelt, W. J. M., & Cutler, A. (1983). Prosodic marking in speech repair. Journal of semantics, 2, 205-217. doi:10.1093/semant/2.2.205.

    Abstract

    Spontaneous self-corrections in speech pose a communication problem; the speaker must make clear to the listener not only that the original Utterance was faulty, but where it was faulty and how the fault is to be corrected. Prosodic marking of corrections - making the prosody of the repair noticeably different from that of the original utterance - offers a resource which the speaker can exploit to provide the listener with such information. A corpus of more than 400 spontaneous speech repairs was analysed, and the prosodic characteristics compared with the syntactic and semantic characteristics of each repair. Prosodic marking showed no relationship at all with the syntactic characteristics of repairs. Instead, marking was associated with certain semantic factors: repairs were marked when the original utterance had been actually erroneous, rather than simply less appropriate than the repair; and repairs tended to be marked more often when the set of items encompassing the error and the repair was small rather than when it was large. These findings lend further weight to the characterization of accent as essentially semantic in function.
  • Cutler, A., & Fay, D. (1975). You have a Dictionary in your Head, not a Thesaurus. Texas Linguistic Forum, 1, 27-40.

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