Discourse context and the recognition of reduced and canonical spoken words
Brouwer, S., Mitterer, H., & Huettig, F.
Discourse context and the recognition of reduced and canonical spoken words. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34
, 519-539. doi:10.1017/S0142716411000853.
In two eye-tracking experiments we examined whether wider discourse information helps
the recognition of reduced pronunciations (e.g., 'puter') more than the recognition of
canonical pronunciations of spoken words (e.g., 'computer'). Dutch participants listened to
sentences from a casual speech corpus containing canonical and reduced target words. Target
word recognition was assessed by measuring eye fixation proportions to four printed words
on a visual display: the target, a "reduced form" competitor, a "canonical form" competitor
and an unrelated distractor. Target sentences were presented in isolation or with a wider
discourse context. Experiment 1 revealed that target recognition was facilitated by wider
discourse information. Importantly, the recognition of reduced forms improved significantly
when preceded by strongly rather than by weakly supportive discourse contexts. This was not
the case for canonical forms: listeners' target word recognition was not dependent on the
degree of supportive context. Experiment 2 showed that the differential context effects in
Experiment 1 were not due to an additional amount of speaker information. Thus, these data
suggest that in natural settings a strongly supportive discourse context is more important for
the recognition of reduced forms than the recognition of canonical forms.