Anne Cutler

Publications

Displaying 1 - 24 of 24
  • Allerhand, M., Butterfield, S., Cutler, A., & Patterson, R. (1992). Assessing syllable strength via an auditory model. In Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics: Vol. 14 Part 6 (pp. 297-304). St. Albans, Herts: Institute of Acoustics.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Cross-linguistic differences in speech segmentation. MRC News, 56, 8-9.
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1992). Detection of vowels and consonants with minimal acoustic variation. Speech Communication, 11, 101-108. doi:10.1016/0167-6393(92)90004-Q.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that, in a phoneme detection task, vowels produce longer reaction times than consonants, suggesting that they are harder to perceive. One possible explanation for this difference is based upon their respective acoustic/articulatory characteristics. Another way of accounting for the findings would be to relate them to the differential functioning of vowels and consonants in the syllabic structure of words. In this experiment, we examined the second possibility. Targets were two pairs of phonemes, each containing a vowel and a consonant with similar phonetic characteristics. Subjects heard lists of English words had to press a response key upon detecting the occurrence of a pre-specified target. This time, the phonemes which functioned as vowels in syllabic structure yielded shorter reaction times than those which functioned as consonants. This rules out an explanation for response time difference between vowels and consonants in terms of function in syllable structure. Instead, we propose that consonantal and vocalic segments differ with respect to variability of tokens, both in the acoustic realisation of targets and in the representation of targets by listeners.
  • Cutler, A., Kearns, R., Norris, D., & Scott, D. (1992). Listeners’ responses to extraneous signals coincident with English and French speech. In J. Pittam (Ed.), Proceedings of the 4th Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (pp. 666-671). Canberra: Australian Speech Science and Technology Association.

    Abstract

    English and French listeners performed two tasks - click location and speeded click detection - with both English and French sentences, closely matched for syntactic and phonological structure. Clicks were located more accurately in open- than in closed-class words in both English and French; they were detected more rapidly in open- than in closed-class words in English, but not in French. The two listener groups produced the same pattern of responses, suggesting that higher-level linguistic processing was not involved in these tasks.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Proceedings with confidence. New Scientist, (1825), 54.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Processing constraints of the native phonological repertoire on the native language. In Y. Tohkura, E. Vatikiotis-Bateson, & Y. Sagisaka (Eds.), Speech perception, production and linguistic structure (pp. 275-278). Tokyo: Ohmsha.
  • Cutler, A., & Butterfield, S. (1992). Rhythmic cues to speech segmentation: Evidence from juncture misperception. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 218-236. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(92)90012-M.

    Abstract

    Segmentation of continuous speech into its component words is a nontrivial task for listeners. Previous work has suggested that listeners develop heuristic segmentation procedures based on experience with the structure of their language; for English, the heuristic is that strong syllables (containing full vowels) are most likely to be the initial syllables of lexical words, whereas weak syllables (containing central, or reduced, vowels) are nonword-initial, or, if word-initial, are grammatical words. This hypothesis is here tested against natural and laboratory-induced missegmentations of continuous speech. Precisely the expected pattern is found: listeners erroneously insert boundaries before strong syllables but delete them before weak syllables; boundaries inserted before strong syllables produce lexical words, while boundaries inserted before weak syllables produce grammatical words.
  • Cutler, A., & Robinson, T. (1992). Response time as a metric for comparison of speech recognition by humans and machines. In J. Ohala, T. Neary, & B. Derwing (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 1 (pp. 189-192). Alberta: University of Alberta.

    Abstract

    The performance of automatic speech recognition systems is usually assessed in terms of error rate. Human speech recognition produces few errors, but relative difficulty of processing can be assessed via response time techniques. We report the construction of a measure analogous to response time in a machine recognition system. This measure may be compared directly with human response times. We conducted a trial comparison of this type at the phoneme level, including both tense and lax vowels and a variety of consonant classes. The results suggested similarities between human and machine processing in the case of consonants, but differences in the case of vowels.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Psychology and the segment. In G. Docherty, & D. Ladd (Eds.), Papers in laboratory phonology II: Gesture, segment, prosody (pp. 290-295). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1992). The monolingual nature of speech segmentation by bilinguals. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 381-410.

    Abstract

    Monolingual French speakers employ a syllable-based procedure in speech segmentation; monolingual English speakers use a stress-based segmentation procedure and do not use the syllable-based procedure. In the present study French-English bilinguals participated in segmentation experiments with English and French materials. Their results as a group did not simply mimic the performance of English monolinguals with English language materials and of French monolinguals with French language materials. Instead, the bilinguals formed two groups, defined by forced choice of a dominant language. Only the French-dominant group showed syllabic segmentation and only with French language materials. The English-dominant group showed no syllabic segmentation in either language. However, the English-dominant group showed stress-based segmentation with English language materials; the French-dominant group did not. We argue that rhythmically based segmentation procedures are mutually exclusive, as a consequence of which speech segmentation by bilinguals is, in one respect at least, functionally monolingual.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). The production and perception of word boundaries. In Y. Tohkura, E. Vatikiotis-Bateson, & Y. Sagisaka (Eds.), Speech perception, production and linguistic structure (pp. 419-425). Tokyo: Ohsma.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). The perception of speech: Psycholinguistic aspects. In W. Bright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of language: Vol. 3 (pp. 181-183). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Why not abolish psycholinguistics? In W. Dressler, H. Luschützky, O. Pfeiffer, & J. Rennison (Eds.), Phonologica 1988 (pp. 77-87). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (1992). Words within words: Lexical statistics and lexical access. In J. Ohala, T. Neary, & B. Derwing (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 1 (pp. 221-224). Alberta: University of Alberta.

    Abstract

    This paper presents lexical statistics on the pattern of occurrence of words embedded in other words. We report the results of an analysis of 25000 words, varying in length from two to six syllables, extracted from a phonetically-coded English dictionary (The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English). Each syllable, and each string of syllables within each word was checked against the dictionary. Two analyses are presented: the first used a complete list of polysyllables, with look-up on the entire dictionary; the second used a sublist of content words, counting only embedded words which were themselves content words. The results have important implications for models of human speech recognition. The efficiency of these models depends, in different ways, on the number and location of words within words.
  • Norris, D., Van Ooijen, B., & Cutler, A. (1992). Speeded detection of vowels and steady-state consonants. In J. Ohala, T. Neary, & B. Derwing (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing; Vol. 2 (pp. 1055-1058). Alberta: University of Alberta.

    Abstract

    We report two experiments in which vowels and steady-state consonants served as targets in a speeded detection task. In the first experiment, two vowels were compared with one voiced and once unvoiced fricative. Response times (RTs) to the vowels were longer than to the fricatives. The error rate was higher for the consonants. Consonants in word-final position produced the shortest RTs, For the vowels, RT correlated negatively with target duration. In the second experiment, the same two vowel targets were compared with two nasals. This time there was no significant difference in RTs, but the error rate was still significantly higher for the consonants. Error rate and length correlated negatively for the vowels only. We conclude that RT differences between phonemes are independent of vocalic or consonantal status. Instead, we argue that the process of phoneme detection reflects more finely grained differences in acoustic/articulatory structure within the phonemic repertoire.
  • Butterfield, S., & Cutler, A. (1988). Segmentation errors by human listeners: Evidence for a prosodic segmentation strategy. In W. Ainsworth, & J. Holmes (Eds.), Proceedings of SPEECH ’88: Seventh Symposium of the Federation of Acoustic Societies of Europe: Vol. 3 (pp. 827-833). Edinburgh: Institute of Acoustics.
  • Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1988). Limits on bilingualism [Letters to Nature]. Nature, 340, 229-230. doi:10.1038/340229a0.

    Abstract

    SPEECH, in any language, is continuous; speakers provide few reliable cues to the boundaries of words, phrases, or other meaningful units. To understand speech, listeners must divide the continuous speech stream into portions that correspond to such units. This segmentation process is so basic to human language comprehension that psycholinguists long assumed that all speakers would do it in the same way. In previous research1,2, however, we reported that segmentation routines can be language-specific: speakers of French process spoken words syllable by syllable, but speakers of English do not. French has relatively clear syllable boundaries and syllable-based timing patterns, whereas English has relatively unclear syllable boundaries and stress-based timing; thus syllabic segmentation would work more efficiently in the comprehension of French than in the comprehension of English. Our present study suggests that at this level of language processing, there are limits to bilingualism: a bilingual speaker has one and only one basic language.
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1988). The role of strong syllables in segmentation for lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 14, 113-121. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.14.1.113.

    Abstract

    A model of speech segmentation in a stress language is proposed, according to which the occurrence of a strong syllable triggers segmentation of the speech signal, whereas occurrence of a weak syllable does not trigger segmentation. We report experiments in which listeners detected words embedded in nonsense bisyllables more slowly when the bisyllable had two strong syllables than when it had a strong and a weak syllable; mint was detected more slowly in mintayve than in mintesh. According to our proposed model, this result is an effect of segmentation: When the second syllable is strong, it is segmented from the first syllable, and successful detection of the embedded word therefore requires assembly of speech material across a segmentation position. Speech recognition models involving phonemic or syllabic recoding, or based on strictly left-to-right processes, do not predict this result. It is argued that segmentation at strong syllables in continuous speech recognition serves the purpose of detecting the most efficient locations at which to initiate lexical access. (C) 1988 by the American Psychological Association
  • Cutler, A. (1988). The perfect speech error. In L. Hyman, & C. Li (Eds.), Language, speech and mind: Studies in honor of Victoria A. Fromkin (pp. 209-223). London: Croom Helm.
  • Hawkins, J. A., & Cutler, A. (1988). Psycholinguistic factors in morphological asymmetry. In J. A. Hawkins (Ed.), Explaining language universals (pp. 280-317). Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Henderson, L., Coltheart, M., Cutler, A., & Vincent, N. (1988). Preface. Linguistics, 26(4), 519-520. doi:10.1515/ling.1988.26.4.519.
  • Mehta, G., & Cutler, A. (1988). Detection of target phonemes in spontaneous and read speech. Language and Speech, 31, 135-156.

    Abstract

    Although spontaneous speech occurs more frequently in most listeners’ experience than read speech, laboratory studies of human speech recognition typically use carefully controlled materials read from a script. The phonological and prosodic characteristics of spontaneous and read speech differ considerably, however, which suggests that laboratory results may not generalize to the recognition of spontaneous and read speech materials, and their response time to detect word-initial target phonemes was measured. Response were, overall, equally fast in each speech mode. However analysis of effects previously reported in phoneme detection studies revealed significant differences between speech modes. In read speech but not in spontaneous speech, later targets were detected more rapidly than earlier targets, and targets preceded by long words were detected more rapidly than targets preceded by short words. In contrast, in spontaneous speech but not in read speech, targets were detected more rapidly in accented than unaccented words and in strong than in weak syllables. An explanation for this pattern is offered in terms of characteristic prosodic differences between spontaneous and read speech. The results support claim from previous work that listeners pay great attention to prosodic information in the process of recognizing speech.
  • Norris, D., & Cutler, A. (1988). Speech recognition in French and English. MRC News, 39, 30-31.
  • Norris, D., & Cutler, A. (1988). The relative accessibility of phonemes and syllables. Perception and Psychophysics, 43, 541-550. Retrieved from http://www.psychonomic.org/search/view.cgi?id=8530.

    Abstract

    Previous research comparing detection times for syllables and for phonemes has consistently found that syllables are responded to faster than phonemes. This finding poses theoretical problems for strictly hierarchical models of speech recognition, in which smaller units should be able to be identified faster than larger units. However, inspection of the characteristics of previous experiments’stimuli reveals that subjects have been able to respond to syllables on the basis of only a partial analysis of the stimulus. In the present experiment, five groups of subjects listened to identical stimulus material. Phoneme and syllable monitoring under standard conditions was compared with monitoring under conditions in which near matches of target and stimulus occurred on no-response trials. In the latter case, when subjects were forced to analyze each stimulus fully, phonemes were detected faster than syllables.

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