Adult perception of stop consonant voicing in American-English-learning toddlers: Voice onset time and secondary cues

Elaine R. Hitchcock, Laura L. Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Most studies of speech perception employ highly controlled stimuli. It is not always clear how such results extend to the processing of natural speech. In a series of experiments, we progressively explored the role of voice onset time (VOT) and potential secondary cues in adult labeling of stressed syllable-initial /b d p t/ produced by typically developing two-year-old learners of American English. Taken together, the results show the following: (a) Adult listeners show phoneme boundaries in labeling functions comparable to what have been established for adult speech. (b) Adult listeners can be sensitive to distributional properties of the stimulus set, even in a study that employs highly varied naturalistic productions from multiple speakers. (c) Secondary cues are available in the speech of two-year-olds, and these may influence listener judgments. Cues may differ across places of articulation and the VOT continuum. These results can lend insight into how clinicians judge child speech during assessment and also have implications for our understanding of the role of primary and secondary acoustic cues in adult perception of child speech.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-477
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume150
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

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