Do speakers have access to a mental syllabary?
Levelt, W. J. M., & Wheeldon, L.
Do speakers have access to a mental syllabary? Cognition, 50
, 239-269. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(94)90030-2.
The first, theoretical part of this paper sketches a framework for phonological encoding in which the speaker successively generates phonological syllables in connected speech. The final stage of this process, phonetic encoding, consists of accessing articulatory gestural scores for each of these syllables in a "mental syllabary". The second, experimental part studies various predictions derived from this theory. The main finding is a syllable frequency effect: words ending in a high-frequent syllable are named faster than words ending in a low-frequent syllable. As predicted, this syllable frequency effect is independent of and additive to the effect of word frequency on naming latency. The effect, moreover, is not due to the complexity of the word-final syllable. In the General Discussion, the syllabary model is further elaborated with respect to phonological underspecification and activation spreading. Alternative accounts of the empirical findings in terms of core syllables and demisyllables are considered.
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