Anne Cutler

Publications

Displaying 1 - 29 of 29
  • Cutler, A. (2010). Abstraction-based efficiency in the lexicon. Laboratory Phonology, 1(2), 301-318. doi:10.1515/LABPHON.2010.016.

    Abstract

    Listeners learn from their past experience of listening to spoken words, and use this learning to maximise the efficiency of future word recognition. This paper summarises evidence that the facilitatory effects of drawing on past experience are mediated by abstraction, enabling learning to be generalised across new words and new listening situations. Phoneme category retuning, which allows adaptation to speaker-specific articulatory characteristics, is generalised on the basis of relatively brief experience to words previously unheard from that speaker. Abstract knowledge of prosodic regularities is applied to recognition even of novel words for which these regularities were violated. Prosodic word-boundary regularities drive segmentation of speech into words independently of the membership of the lexical candidate set resulting from the segmentation operation. Each of these different cases illustrates how abstraction from past listening experience has contributed to the efficiency of lexical recognition.
  • Cutler, A., El Aissati, A., Hanulikova, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2010). Effects on speech parsing of vowelless words in the phonology. In Abstracts of Laboratory Phonology 12 (pp. 115-116).
  • Cutler, A., Cooke, M., & Lecumberri, M. L. G. (2010). Preface. Speech Communication, 52, 863. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2010.11.003.

    Abstract

    Adverse listening conditions always make the perception of speech harder, but their deleterious effect is far greater if the speech we are trying to understand is in a non-native language. An imperfect signal can be coped with by recourse to the extensive knowledge one has of a native language, and imperfect knowledge of a non-native language can still support useful communication when speech signals are high-quality. But the combination of imperfect signal and imperfect knowledge leads rapidly to communication breakdown. This phenomenon is undoubtedly well known to every reader of Speech Communication from personal experience. Many readers will also have a professional interest in explaining, or remedying, the problems it produces. The journal’s readership being a decidedly interdisciplinary one, this interest will involve quite varied scientific approaches, including (but not limited to) modelling the interaction of first and second language vocabularies and phonemic repertoires, developing targeted listening training for language learners, and redesigning the acoustics of classrooms and conference halls. In other words, the phenomenon that this special issue deals with is a well-known one, that raises important scientific and practical questions across a range of speech communication disciplines, and Speech Communication is arguably the ideal vehicle for presentation of such a breadth of approaches in a single volume. The call for papers for this issue elicited a large number of submissions from across the full range of the journal’s interdisciplinary scope, requiring the guest editors to apply very strict criteria to the final selection. Perhaps unique in the history of treatments of this topic is the combination represented by the guest editors for this issue: a phonetician whose primary research interest is in second-language speech (MLGL), an engineer whose primary research field is the acoustics of masking in speech processing (MC), and a psychologist whose primary research topic is the recognition of spoken words (AC). In the opening article of the issue, these three authors together review the existing literature on listening to second-language speech under adverse conditions, bringing together these differing perspectives for the first time in a single contribution. The introductory review is followed by 13 new experimental reports of phonetic, acoustic and psychological studies of the topic. The guest editors thank Speech Communication editor Marc Swerts and the journal’s team at Elsevier, as well as all the reviewers who devoted time and expert efforts to perfecting the contributions to this issue.
  • Cutler, A., Mitterer, H., Brouwer, S., & Tuinman, A. (2010). Phonological competition in casual speech. In Proceedings of DiSS-LPSS Joint Workshop 2010 (pp. 43-46).
  • Cutler, A., Treiman, R., & Van Ooijen, B. (2010). Strategic deployment of orthographic knowledge in phoneme detection. Language and Speech, 53(3), 307 -320. doi:10.1177/0023830910371445.

    Abstract

    The phoneme detection task is widely used in spoken-word recognition research. Alphabetically literate participants, however, are more used to explicit representations of letters than of phonemes. The present study explored whether phoneme detection is sensitive to how target phonemes are, or may be, orthographically realized. Listeners detected the target sounds [b, m, t, f, s, k] in word-initial position in sequences of isolated English words. Response times were faster to the targets [b, m, t], which have consistent word-initial spelling, than to the targets [f, s, k], which are inconsistently spelled, but only when spelling was rendered salient by the presence in the experiment of many irregularly spelled filler words. Within the inconsistent targets [f, s, k], there was no significant difference between responses to targets in words with more usual (foam, seed, cattle) versus less usual (phone, cede, kettle) spellings. Phoneme detection is thus not necessarily sensitive to orthographic effects; knowledge of spelling stored in the lexical representations of words does not automatically become available as word candidates are activated. However, salient orthographic manipulations in experimental input can induce such sensitivity. We attribute this to listeners' experience of the value of spelling in everyday situations that encourage phonemic decisions (such as learning new names)
  • Cutler, A., & Shanley, J. (2010). Validation of a training method for L2 continuous-speech segmentation. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2010), Makuhari, Japan (pp. 1844-1847).

    Abstract

    Recognising continuous speech in a second language is often unexpectedly difficult, as the operation of segmenting speech is so attuned to native-language structure. We report the initial steps in development of a novel training method for second-language listening, focusing on speech segmentation and employing a task designed for studying this: word-spotting. Listeners detect real words in sequences consisting of a word plus a minimal context. The present validation study shows that learners from varying non-English backgrounds successfully perform a version of this task in English, and display appropriate sensitivity to structural factors that also affect segmentation by native English listeners.
  • Junge, C., Cutler, A., & Hagoort, P. (2010). Ability to segment words from speech as a precursor of later language development: Insights from electrophysiological responses in the infant brain. In M. Burgess, J. Davey, C. Don, & T. McMinn (Eds.), Proceedings of 20th International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2010. Incorporating Proceedings of the 2010 annual conference of the Australian Acoustical Society (pp. 3727-3732). Australian Acoustical Society, NSW Division.
  • Junge, C., Hagoort, P., Kooijman, V., & Cutler, A. (2010). Brain potentials for word segmentation at seven months predict later language development. In K. Franich, K. M. Iserman, & L. L. Keil (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Volume 1 (pp. 209-220). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Lecumberri, M. L. G., Cooke, M., & Cutler, A. (2010). Non-native speech perception in adverse conditions: A review. Speech Communication, 52, 864-886. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2010.08.014.

    Abstract

    If listening in adverse conditions is hard, then listening in a foreign language is doubly so: non-native listeners have to cope with both imperfect signals and imperfect knowledge. Comparison of native and non-native listener performance in speech-in-noise tasks helps to clarify the role of prior linguistic experience in speech perception, and, more directly, contributes to an understanding of the problems faced by language learners in everyday listening situations. This article reviews experimental studies on non-native listening in adverse conditions, organised around three principal contributory factors: the task facing listeners, the effect of adverse conditions on speech, and the differences among listener populations. Based on a comprehensive tabulation of key studies, we identify robust findings, research trends and gaps in current knowledge.
  • Otake, T., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2010). Competition in the perception of spoken Japanese words. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2010), Makuhari, Japan (pp. 114-117).

    Abstract

    Japanese listeners detected Japanese words embedded at the end of nonsense sequences (e.g., kaba 'hippopotamus' in gyachikaba). When the final portion of the preceding context together with the initial portion of the word (e.g., here, the sequence chika) was compatible with many lexical competitors, recognition of the embedded word was more difficult than when such a sequence was compatible with few competitors. This clear effect of competition, established here for preceding context in Japanese, joins similar demonstrations, in other languages and for following contexts, to underline that the functional architecture of the human spoken-word recognition system is a universal one.
  • Tuinman, A., & Cutler, A. (2010). Casual speech processes: L1 knowledge and L2 speech perception. In K. Dziubalska-Kołaczyk, M. Wrembel, & M. Kul (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech, New Sounds 2010, Poznań, Poland, 1-3 May 2010 (pp. 512-517). Poznan: Adama Mickiewicz University.

    Abstract

    Every language manifests casual speech processes, and hence every second language too. This study examined how listeners deal with second-language casual speech processes, as a function of the processes in their native language. We compared a match case, where a second-language process t/-reduction) is also operative in native speech, with a mismatch case, where a second-language process (/r/-insertion) is absent from native speech. In each case native and non-native listeners judged stimuli in which a given phoneme (in sentence context) varied along a continuum from absent to present. Second-language listeners in general mimicked native performance in the match case, but deviated significantly from native performance in the mismatch case. Together these results make it clear that the mapping from first to second language is as important in the interpretation of casual speech processes as in other dimensions of speech perception. Unfamiliar casual speech processes are difficult to adapt to in a second language. Casual speech processes that are already familiar from native speech, however, are easy to adapt to; indeed, our results even suggest that it is possible for subtle difference in their occurrence patterns across the two languages to be detected,and to be accommodated to in second-language listening.
  • Cutler, A., Sebastian-Galles, N., Soler-Vilageliu, O., & Van Ooijen, B. (2000). Constraints of vowels and consonants on lexical selection: Cross-linguistic comparisons. Memory & Cognition, 28, 746-755.

    Abstract

    Languages differ in the constitution of their phonemic repertoire and in the relative distinctiveness of phonemes within the repertoire. In the present study, we asked whether such differences constrain spoken-word recognition, via two word reconstruction experiments, in which listeners turned non-words into real words by changing single sounds. The experiments were carried out in Dutch (which has a relatively balanced vowel-consonant ratio and many similar vowels) and in Spanish (which has many more consonants than vowels and high distinctiveness among the vowels). Both Dutch and Spanish listeners responded significantly faster and more accurately when required to change vowels as opposed to consonants; when allowed to change any phoneme, they more often altered vowels than consonants. Vowel information thus appears to constrain lexical selection less tightly (allow more potential candidates) than does consonant information, independent of language-specific phoneme repertoire and of relative distinctiveness of vowels.
  • Cutler, A., & Van de Weijer, J. (2000). De ontdekking van de eerste woorden. Stem-, Spraak- en Taalpathologie, 9, 245-259.

    Abstract

    Spraak is continu, er zijn geen betrouwbare signalen waardoor de luisteraar weet waar het ene woord eindigt en het volgende begint. Voor volwassen luisteraars is het segmenteren van gesproken taal in afzonderlijke woorden dus niet onproblematisch, maar voor een kind dat nog geen woordenschat bezit, vormt de continuïteit van spraak een nog grotere uitdaging. Desalniettemin produceren de meeste kinderen hun eerste herkenbare woorden rond het begin van het tweede levensjaar. Aan deze vroege spraakproducties gaat een formidabele perceptuele prestatie vooraf. Tijdens het eerste levensjaar - met name gedurende de tweede helft - ontwikkelt de spraakperceptie zich van een algemeen fonetisch discriminatievermogen tot een selectieve gevoeligheid voor de fonologische contrasten die in de moedertaal voorkomen. Recent onderzoek heeft verder aangetoond dat kinderen, lang voordat ze ook maar een enkel woord kunnen zeggen, in staat zijn woorden die kenmerkend zijn voor hun moedertaal te onderscheiden van woorden die dat niet zijn. Bovendien kunnen ze woorden die eerst in isolatie werden aangeboden herkennen in een continue spraakcontext. Het dagelijkse taalaanbod aan een kind van deze leeftijd maakt het in zekere zin niet gemakkelijk, bijvoorbeeld doordat de meeste woorden niet in isolatie voorkomen. Toch wordt het kind ook wel houvast geboden, onder andere doordat het woordgebruik beperkt is.
  • Cutler, A., & Koster, M. (2000). Stress and lexical activation in Dutch. In B. Yuan, T. Huang, & X. Tang (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 1 (pp. 593-596). Beijing: China Military Friendship Publish.

    Abstract

    Dutch listeners were slower to make judgements about the semantic relatedness between a spoken target word (e.g. atLEET, 'athlete') and a previously presented visual prime word (e.g. SPORT 'sport') when the spoken word was mis-stressed. The adverse effect of mis-stressing confirms the role of stress information in lexical recognition in Dutch. However, although the erroneous stress pattern was always initially compatible with a competing word (e.g. ATlas, 'atlas'), mis-stressed words did not produced high false alarm rates in unrelated pairs (e.g. SPORT - atLAS). This suggests that stress information did not completely rule out segmentally matching but suprasegmentally mismatching words, a finding consistent with spoken-word recognition models involving multiple activation and inter-word competition.
  • Cutler, A., Norris, D., & McQueen, J. M. (2000). Tracking TRACE’s troubles. In A. Cutler, J. M. McQueen, & R. Zondervan (Eds.), Proceedings of SWAP (Workshop on Spoken Word Access Processes) (pp. 63-66). Nijmegen: Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics.

    Abstract

    Simulations explored the inability of the TRACE model of spoken-word recognition to model the effects on human listening of acoustic-phonetic mismatches in word forms. The source of TRACE's failure lay not in its interactive connectivity, not in the presence of interword competition, and not in the use of phonemic representations, but in the need for continuously optimised interpretation of the input. When an analogue of TRACE was allowed to cycle to asymptote on every slice of input, an acceptable simulation of the subcategorical mismatch data was achieved. Even then, however, the simulation was not as close as that produced by the Merge model.
  • Houston, D. M., Jusczyk, P. W., Kuijpers, C., Coolen, R., & Cutler, A. (2000). Cross-language word segmentation by 9-month-olds. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 7, 504-509.

    Abstract

    Dutch-learning and English-learning 9-month-olds were tested, using the Headturn Preference Procedure, for their ability to segment Dutch words with strong/weak stress patterns from fluent Dutch speech. This prosodic pattern is highly typical for words of both languages. The infants were familiarized with pairs of words and then tested on four passages, two that included the familiarized words and two that did not. Both the Dutch- and the English-learning infants gave evidence of segmenting the targets from the passages, to an equivalent degree. Thus, English-learning infants are able to extract words from fluent speech in a language that is phonetically different from English. We discuss the possibility that this cross-language segmentation ability is aided by the similarity of the typical rhythmic structure of Dutch and English words.
  • Johnson, E. K., Jusczyk, P. W., Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (2000). The development of word recognition: The use of the possible-word constraint by 12-month-olds. In L. Gleitman, & A. Joshi (Eds.), Proceedings of CogSci 2000 (pp. 1034). London: Erlbaum.
  • McQueen, J. M., Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (2000). Positive and negative influences of the lexicon on phonemic decision-making. In B. Yuan, T. Huang, & X. Tang (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 3 (pp. 778-781). Beijing: China Military Friendship Publish.

    Abstract

    Lexical knowledge influences how human listeners make decisions about speech sounds. Positive lexical effects (faster responses to target sounds in words than in nonwords) are robust across several laboratory tasks, while negative effects (slower responses to targets in more word-like nonwords than in less word-like nonwords) have been found in phonetic decision tasks but not phoneme monitoring tasks. The present experiments tested whether negative lexical effects are therefore a task-specific consequence of the forced choice required in phonetic decision. We compared phoneme monitoring and phonetic decision performance using the same Dutch materials in each task. In both experiments there were positive lexical effects, but no negative lexical effects. We observe that in all studies showing negative lexical effects, the materials were made by cross-splicing, which meant that they contained perceptual evidence supporting the lexically-consistent phonemes. Lexical knowledge seems to influence phonemic decision-making only when there is evidence for the lexically-consistent phoneme in the speech signal.
  • McQueen, J. M., Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (2000). Why Merge really is autonomous and parsimonious. In A. Cutler, J. M. McQueen, & R. Zondervan (Eds.), Proceedings of SWAP (Workshop on Spoken Word Access Processes) (pp. 47-50). Nijmegen: Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics.

    Abstract

    We briefly describe the Merge model of phonemic decision-making, and, in the light of general arguments about the possible role of feedback in spoken-word recognition, defend Merge's feedforward structure. Merge not only accounts adequately for the data, without invoking feedback connections, but does so in a parsimonious manner.
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2000). Feedback on feedback on feedback: It’s feedforward. (Response to commentators). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 352-370.

    Abstract

    The central thesis of the target article was that feedback is never necessary in spoken word recognition. The commentaries present no new data and no new theoretical arguments which lead us to revise this position. In this response we begin by clarifying some terminological issues which have lead to a number of significant misunderstandings. We provide some new arguments to support our case that the feedforward model Merge is indeed more parsimonious than the interactive alternatives, and that it provides a more convincing account of the data than alternative models. Finally, we extend the arguments to deal with new issues raised by the commentators such as infant speech perception and neural architecture.
  • Norris, D., Cutler, A., McQueen, J. M., Butterfield, S., & Kearns, R. K. (2000). Language-universal constraints on the segmentation of English. In A. Cutler, J. M. McQueen, & R. Zondervan (Eds.), Proceedings of SWAP (Workshop on Spoken Word Access Processes) (pp. 43-46). Nijmegen: Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics.

    Abstract

    Two word-spotting experiments are reported that examine whether the Possible-Word Constraint (PWC) [1] is a language-specific or language-universal strategy for the segmentation of continuous speech. The PWC disfavours parses which leave an impossible residue between the end of a candidate word and a known boundary. The experiments examined cases where the residue was either a CV syllable with a lax vowel, or a CVC syllable with a schwa. Although neither syllable context is a possible word in English, word-spotting in both contexts was easier than with a context consisting of a single consonant. The PWC appears to be language-universal rather than language-specific.
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2000). Merging information in speech recognition: Feedback is never necessary. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 299-325.

    Abstract

    Top-down feedback does not benefit speech recognition; on the contrary, it can hinder it. No experimental data imply that feedback loops are required for speech recognition. Feedback is accordingly unnecessary and spoken word recognition is modular. To defend this thesis, we analyse lexical involvement in phonemic decision making. TRACE (McClelland & Elman 1986), a model with feedback from the lexicon to prelexical processes, is unable to account for all the available data on phonemic decision making. The modular Race model (Cutler & Norris 1979) is likewise challenged by some recent results, however. We therefore present a new modular model of phonemic decision making, the Merge model. In Merge, information flows from prelexical processes to the lexicon without feedback. Because phonemic decisions are based on the merging of prelexical and lexical information, Merge correctly predicts lexical involvement in phonemic decisions in both words and nonwords. Computer simulations show how Merge is able to account for the data through a process of competition between lexical hypotheses. We discuss the issue of feedback in other areas of language processing and conclude that modular models are particularly well suited to the problems and constraints of speech recognition.
  • Norris, D., Cutler, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2000). The optimal architecture for simulating spoken-word recognition. In C. Davis, T. Van Gelder, & R. Wales (Eds.), Cognitive Science in Australia, 2000: Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Australasian Cognitive Science Society. Adelaide: Causal Productions.

    Abstract

    Simulations explored the inability of the TRACE model of spoken-word recognition to model the effects on human listening of subcategorical mismatch in word forms. The source of TRACE's failure lay not in interactive connectivity, not in the presence of inter-word competition, and not in the use of phonemic representations, but in the need for continuously optimised interpretation of the input. When an analogue of TRACE was allowed to cycle to asymptote on every slice of input, an acceptable simulation of the subcategorical mismatch data was achieved. Even then, however, the simulation was not as close as that produced by the Merge model, which has inter-word competition, phonemic representations and continuous optimisation (but no interactive connectivity).
  • Otake, T., & Cutler, A. (2000). A set of Japanese word cohorts rated for relative familiarity. In B. Yuan, T. Huang, & X. Tang (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 3 (pp. 766-769). Beijing: China Military Friendship Publish.

    Abstract

    A database is presented of relative familiarity ratings for 24 sets of Japanese words, each set comprising words overlapping in the initial portions. These ratings are useful for the generation of material sets for research in the recognition of spoken words.
  • Cutler, A., & Fear, B. D. (1991). Categoricality in acceptability judgements for strong versus weak vowels. In J. Llisterri (Ed.), Proceedings of the ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles (pp. 18.1-18.5). Barcelona, Catalonia: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

    Abstract

    A distinction between strong and weak vowels can be drawn on the basis of vowel quality, of stress, or of both factors. An experiment was conducted in which sets of contextually matched word-intial vowels ranging from clearly strong to clearly weak were cross-spliced, and the naturalness of the resulting words was rated by listeners. The ratings showed that in general cross-spliced words were only significantly less acceptable than unspliced words when schwa was not involved; this supports a categorical distinction based on vowel quality.
  • Cutler, A. (1991). Proceed with caution. New Scientist, (1799), 53-54.
  • Cutler, A. (1991). Prosody in situations of communication: Salience and segmentation. In Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: Vol. 1 (pp. 264-270). Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence, Service des publications.

    Abstract

    Speakers and listeners have a shared goal: to communicate. The processes of speech perception and of speech production interact in many ways under the constraints of this communicative goal; such interaction is as characteristic of prosodic processing as of the processing of other aspects of linguistic structure. Two of the major uses of prosodic information in situations of communication are to encode salience and segmentation, and these themes unite the contributions to the symposium introduced by the present review.
  • Cutler, A., & Butterfield, S. (1991). Word boundary cues in clear speech: A supplementary report. Speech Communication, 10, 335-353. doi:10.1016/0167-6393(91)90002-B.

    Abstract

    One of a listener's major tasks in understanding continuous speech is segmenting the speech signal into separate words. When listening conditions are difficult, speakers can help listeners by deliberately speaking more clearly. In four experiments, we examined how word boundaries are produced in deliberately clear speech. In an earlier report we showed that speakers do indeed mark word boundaries in clear speech, by pausing at the boundary and lengthening pre-boundary syllables; moreover, these effects are applied particularly to boundaries preceding weak syllables. In English, listeners use segmentation procedures which make word boundaries before strong syllables easier to perceive; thus marking word boundaries before weak syllables in clear speech will make clear precisely those boundaries which are otherwise hard to perceive. The present report presents supplementary data, namely prosodic analyses of the syllable following a critical word boundary. More lengthening and greater increases in intensity were applied in clear speech to weak syllables than to strong. Mean F0 was also increased to a greater extent on weak syllables than on strong. Pitch movement, however, increased to a greater extent on strong syllables than on weak. The effects were, however, very small in comparison to the durational effects we observed earlier for syllables preceding the boundary and for pauses at the boundary.
  • Van Ooijen, B., Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1991). Detection times for vowels versus consonants. In Eurospeech 91: Vol. 3 (pp. 1451-1454). Genova: Istituto Internazionale delle Comunicazioni.

    Abstract

    This paper reports two experiments with vowels and consonants as phoneme detection targets in real words. In the first experiment, two relatively distinct vowels were compared with two confusible stop consonants. Response times to the vowels were longer than to the consonants. Response times correlated negatively with target phoneme length. In the second, two relatively distinct vowels were compared with their corresponding semivowels. This time, the vowels were detected faster than the semivowels. We conclude that response time differences between vowels and stop consonants in this task may reflect differences between phoneme categories in the variability of tokens, both in the acoustic realisation of targets and in the' representation of targets by subjects.

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