Anne Cutler †

Publications

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12
  • Bruggeman, L., Yu, J., & Cutler, A. (2022). Listener adjustment of stress cue use to fit language vocabulary structure. In S. Frota, M. Cruz, & M. Vigário (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2022 (pp. 264-267). doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-54.

    Abstract

    In lexical stress languages, phonemically identical syllables can differ suprasegmentally (in duration, amplitude, F0). Such stress
    cues allow listeners to speed spoken-word recognition by rejecting mismatching competitors (e.g., unstressed set- in settee
    rules out stressed set- in setting, setter, settle). Such processing effects have indeed been observed in Spanish, Dutch and German, but English listeners are known to largely ignore stress cues. Dutch and German listeners even outdo English listeners in distinguishing stressed versus unstressed English syllables. This has been attributed to the relative frequency across the stress languages of unstressed syllables with full vowels; in English most unstressed syllables contain schwa, instead, and stress cues on full vowels are thus least often informative in this language. If only informativeness matters, would English listeners who encounter situations where such cues would pay off for them (e.g., learning one of those other stress languages) then shift to using stress cues? Likewise, would stress cue users with English as L2, if mainly using English, shift away from
    using the cues in English? Here we report tests of these two questions, with each receiving a yes answer. We propose that
    English listeners’ disregard of stress cues is purely pragmatic.
  • Cutler, A., Ernestus, M., Warner, N., & Weber, A. (2022). Managing speech perception data sets. In B. McDonnell, E. Koller, & L. B. Collister (Eds.), The Open Handbook of Linguistic Data Management (pp. 565-573). Cambrdige, MA, USA: MIT Press. doi:10.7551/mitpress/12200.003.0055.
  • Cutler, A., Burchfield, L. A., & Antoniou, M. (2018). Factors affecting talker adaptation in a second language. In J. Epps, J. Wolfe, J. Smith, & C. Jones (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (pp. 33-36).

    Abstract

    Listeners adapt rapidly to previously unheard talkers by
    adjusting phoneme categories using lexical knowledge, in a
    process termed lexically-guided perceptual learning. Although
    this is firmly established for listening in the native language
    (L1), perceptual flexibility in second languages (L2) is as yet
    less well understood. We report two experiments examining L1
    and L2 perceptual learning, the first in Mandarin-English late
    bilinguals, the second in Australian learners of Mandarin. Both
    studies showed stronger learning in L1; in L2, however,
    learning appeared for the English-L1 group but not for the
    Mandarin-L1 group. Phonological mapping differences from
    the L1 to the L2 are suggested as the reason for this result.
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2018). Cue equivalence in prosodic entrainment for focus detection. In J. Epps, J. Wolfe, J. Smith, & C. Jones (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (pp. 153-156).

    Abstract

    Using a phoneme detection task, the present series of
    experiments examines whether listeners can entrain to
    different combinations of prosodic cues to predict where focus
    will fall in an utterance. The stimuli were recorded by four
    female native speakers of Australian English who happened to
    have used different prosodic cues to produce sentences with
    prosodic focus: a combination of duration cues, mean and
    maximum F0, F0 range, and longer pre-target interval before
    the focused word onset, only mean F0 cues, only pre-target
    interval, and only duration cues. Results revealed that listeners
    can entrain in almost every condition except for where
    duration was the only reliable cue. Our findings suggest that
    listeners are flexible in the cues they use for focus processing.
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2018). Asymmetric efficiency of juncture perception in L1 and L2. In K. Klessa, J. Bachan, A. Wagner, M. Karpiński, & D. Śledziński (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2018 (pp. 289-296). Baixas, France: ISCA. doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-59.

    Abstract

    In two experiments, Mandarin listeners resolved potential syntactic ambiguities in spoken utterances in (a) their native language (L1) and (b) English which they had learned as a second language (L2). A new disambiguation task was used, requiring speeded responses to select the correct meaning for structurally ambiguous sentences. Importantly, the ambiguities used in the study are identical in Mandarin and in English, and production data show that prosodic disambiguation of this type of ambiguity is also realised very similarly in the two languages. The perceptual results here showed however that listeners’ response patterns differed for L1 and L2, although there was a significant increase in similarity between the two response patterns with increasing exposure to the L2. Thus identical ambiguity and comparable disambiguation patterns in L1 and L2 do not lead to immediate application of the appropriate L1 listening strategy to L2; instead, it appears that such a strategy may have to be learned anew for the L2.
  • Cutler, A., & Farrell, J. (2018). Listening in first and second language. In J. I. Liontas (Ed.), The TESOL encyclopedia of language teaching. New York: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0583.

    Abstract

    Listeners' recognition of spoken language involves complex decoding processes: The continuous speech stream must be segmented into its component words, and words must be recognized despite great variability in their pronunciation (due to talker differences, or to influence of phonetic context, or to speech register) and despite competition from many spuriously present forms supported by the speech signal. L1 listeners deal more readily with all levels of this complexity than L2 listeners. Fortunately, the decoding processes necessary for competent L2 listening can be taught in the classroom. Evidence-based methodologies targeted at the development of efficient speech decoding include teaching of minimal pairs, of phonotactic constraints, and of reduction processes, as well as the use of dictation and L2 video captions.
  • Burchfield, L. A., Luk, S.-.-H.-K., Antoniou, M., & Cutler, A. (2017). Lexically guided perceptual learning in Mandarin Chinese. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 576-580). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-618.

    Abstract

    Lexically guided perceptual learni ng refers to the use of lexical knowledge to retune sp eech categories and thereby adapt to a novel talker’s pronunciation. This adaptation has been extensively documented, but primarily for segmental-based learning in English and Dutch. In languages with lexical tone, such as Mandarin Chinese, tonal categories can also be retuned in this way, but segmental category retuning had not been studied. We report two experiment s in which Mandarin Chinese listeners were exposed to an ambiguous mixture of [f] and [s] in lexical contexts favoring an interpretation as either [f] or [s]. Listeners were subsequently more likely to identify sounds along a continuum between [f] and [s], and to interpret minimal word pairs, in a manner consistent with this exposure. Thus lexically guided perceptual learning of segmental categories had indeed taken place, consistent with suggestions that such learning may be a universally available adaptation process
  • Cutler, A. (2017). Converging evidence for abstract phonological knowledge in speech processing. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1447-1448). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The perceptual processing of speech is a constant interplay of multiple competing albeit convergent processes: acoustic input vs. higher-level representations, universal mechanisms vs. language-specific, veridical traces of speech experience vs. construction and activation of abstract representations. The present summary concerns the third of these issues. The ability to generalise across experience and to deal with resulting abstractions is the hallmark of human cognition, visible even in early infancy. In speech processing, abstract representations play a necessary role in both production and perception. New sorts of evidence are now informing our understanding of the breadth of this role.
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2017). Intonation facilitates prediction of focus even in the presence of lexical tones. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 1218-1222). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-264.

    Abstract

    In English and Dutch, listeners entrain to prosodic contours to predict where focus will fall in an utterance. However, is this strategy universally available, even in languages with different phonological systems? In a phoneme detection experiment, we examined whether prosodic entrainment is also found in Mandarin Chinese, a tone language, where in principle the use of pitch for lexical identity may take precedence over the use of pitch cues to salience. Consistent with the results from Germanic languages, response times were facilitated when preceding intonation predicted accent on the target-bearing word. Acoustic analyses revealed greater F0 range in the preceding intonation of the predicted-accent sentences. These findings have implications for how universal and language-specific mechanisms interact in the processing of salience.
  • Goudbeek, M., Smits, R., Cutler, A., & Swingley, D. (2017). Auditory and phonetic category formation. In H. Cohen, & C. Lefebvre (Eds.), Handbook of categorization in cognitive science (2nd revised ed.) (pp. 687-708). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Kember, H., Grohe, A.-.-K., Zahner, K., Braun, B., Weber, A., & Cutler, A. (2017). Similar prosodic structure perceived differently in German and English. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 1388-1392). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-544.

    Abstract

    English and German have similar prosody, but their speakers realize some pitch falls (not rises) in subtly different ways. We here test for asymmetry in perception. An ABX discrimination task requiring F0 slope or duration judgements on isolated vowels revealed no cross-language difference in duration or F0 fall discrimination, but discrimination of rises (realized similarly in each language) was less accurate for English than for German listeners. This unexpected finding may reflect greater sensitivity to rising patterns by German listeners, or reduced sensitivity by English listeners as a result of extensive exposure to phrase-final rises (“uptalk”) in their language
  • Cutler, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). How prosody is both mandatory and optional. In J. Caspers, Y. Chen, W. Heeren, J. Pacilly, N. O. Schiller, & E. Van Zanten (Eds.), Above and Beyond the Segments: Experimental linguistics and phonetics (pp. 71-82). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Speech signals originate as a sequence of linguistic units selected by speakers, but these units are necessarily realised in the suprasegmental dimensions of time, frequency and amplitude. For this reason prosodic structure has been viewed as a mandatory target of language processing by both speakers and listeners. In apparent contradiction, however, prosody has also been argued to be ancillary rather than core linguistic structure, making processing of prosodic structure essentially optional. In the present tribute to one of the luminaries of prosodic research for the past quarter century, we review evidence from studies of the processing of lexical stress and focal accent which reconciles these views and shows that both claims are, each in their own way, fully true.

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