Can hearing puter activate pupil? Phonological competition and the processing of reduced spoken words in spontaneous conversations
In listeners' daily communicative exchanges, they most often hear casual speech, in which words are often produced with fewer segments, rather than the careful speech used in most psycholinguistic experiments. Three experiments examined phonological competition during the recognition of reduced forms such as [pjutər] for computer using a target-absent variant of the visual world paradigm. Listeners' eye movements were tracked upon hearing canonical and reduced forms as they looked at displays of four printed words. One of the words was phonologically similar to the canonical pronunciation of the target word, one word was similar to the reduced pronunciation, and two words served as unrelated distractors. When spoken targets were presented in isolation (Experiment 1) and in sentential contexts (Experiment 2), competition was modulated as a function of the target word form. When reduced targets were presented in sentential contexts, listeners were probabilistically more likely to first fixate reduced-form competitors before shifting their eye gaze to canonical-form competitors. Experiment 3, in which the original /p/ from [pjutər] was replaced with a “real” onset /p/, showed an effect of cross-splicing in the late time window. We conjecture that these results fit best with the notion that speech reductions initially activate competitors that are similar to the phonological surface form of the reduction, but that listeners nevertheless can exploit fine phonetic detail to reconstruct strongly reduced forms to their canonical counterparts.
Publication typeJournal article