Perceptual recovery from consonant-cluster simplification using language-specific phonological knowledge

Cho, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Perceptual recovery from consonant-cluster simplification using language-specific phonological knowledge. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 40, 253-274. doi:10.1007/s10936-011-9168-0.
Two experiments examined whether perceptual recovery from Korean consonant-cluster simplification is based on language-specific phonological knowledge. In tri-consonantal C1C2C3 sequences such as /lkt/ and /lpt/ in Seoul Korean, either C1 or C2 can be completely deleted. Seoul Koreans monitored for C2 targets (/p/ or / k/, deleted or preserved) in the second word of a two-word phrase with an underlying /l/-C2-/t/ sequence. In Experiment 1 the target-bearing words had contextual lexical-semantic support. Listeners recovered deleted targets as fast and as accurately as preserved targets with both Word and Intonational Phrase (IP) boundaries between the two words. In Experiment 2, contexts were low-pass filtered. Listeners were still able to recover deleted targets as well as preserved targets in IP-boundary contexts, but better with physically-present targets than with deleted targets in Word-boundary contexts. This suggests that the benefit of having target acoustic-phonetic information emerges only when higher-order (contextual and phrase-boundary) information is not available. The strikingly efficient recovery of deleted phonemes with neither acoustic-phonetic cues nor contextual support demonstrates that language-specific phonological knowledge, rather than language-universal perceptual processes which rely on fine-grained phonetic details, is employed when the listener perceives the results of a continuous-speech process in which reduction is phonetically complete.
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