The syllable's differing role in the segmentation of French and English
Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J.
The syllable's differing role in the segmentation of French and English. In G. T. Altmann (Ed.
), Psycholinguistics: Critical concepts in psychology
(pp. 115-135). London: Routledge.
Speech segmentation procedures may differ in speakers of different languages. Earlier work based on French speakers listening to French words suggested that the syllable functions as a segmentation unit in speech processing. However, while French has relatively regular and clearly bounded syllables, other languages, such as English, do not. No trace of syllabifying segmentation was found in English listeners listening to English words, French words, or nonsense words. French listeners, however, showed evidence of syllabification even when they were listening to English words. We conclude that alternative segmentation routines are available to the human language processor. In some cases speech segmentation may involve the operation of more than one procedure.