Listening to nonnative language which violates native assimilation rules

Weber, A. (1998). Listening to nonnative language which violates native assimilation rules. In D. Duez (Ed.), Proceedings of the European Scientific Communication Association workshop: Sound patterns of Spontaneous Speech (pp. 101-104).
Recent studies using phoneme detection tasks have shown that spoken-language processing is neither facilitated nor interfered with by optional assimilation, but is inhibited by violation of obligatory assimilation. Interpretation of these results depends on an assessment of their generality, specifically, whether they also obtain when listeners are processing nonnative language. Two separate experiments are presented in which native listeners of German and native listeners of Dutch had to detect a target fricative in legal monosyllabic Dutch nonwords. All of the nonwords were correct realisations in standard Dutch. For German listeners, however, half of the nonwords contained phoneme strings which violate the German fricative assimilation rule. Whereas the Dutch listeners showed no significant effects, German listeners detected the target fricative faster when the German fricative assimilation was violated than when no violation occurred. The results might suggest that violation of assimilation rules does not have to make processing more difficult per se.
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