Segmenting ambiguous phrases using phoneme duration

Shatzman, K. B. (2004). Segmenting ambiguous phrases using phoneme duration. In S. Kin, & M. J. Bae (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (Interspeech 2004-ICSLP) (pp. 329-332). Seoul: Sunjijn Printing Co.
The results of an eye-tracking experiment are presented in which Dutch listeners' eye movements were monitored as they heard sentences and saw four pictured objects. Participants were instructed to click on the object mentioned in the sentence. In the critical sentences, a stop-initial target (e.g., "pot") was preceded by an [s], thus causing ambiguity regarding whether the sentence refers to a stop-initial or a cluster-initial word (e.g., "spot"). Participants made fewer fixations to the target pictures when the stop and the preceding [s] were cross-spliced from the cluster-initial word than when they were spliced from a different token of the sentence containing the stop-initial word. Acoustic analyses showed that the two versions differed in various measures, but only one of these - the duration of the [s] - correlated with the perceptual effect. Thus, in this context, the [s] duration information is an important factor guiding word recognition.
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