Detection of target phonemes in spontaneous and read speech
SourceLanguage and Speech, 31, 2, (1988), pp. 135-156
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Language and Speech
Although spontaneous speech occurs more frequently in most listeners' experience than read speech, laboratory studies of human speech recognition typically use carefully controlled materials read from a script. The phonological and prosodic characteristics of spontaneous and read speech differ considerably, however, which suggests that laboratory results may not generalise to the recognition of spontaneous speech. In the present study listeners were presented with both spontaneous and read speech materials, and their response time to detect word-initial target phonemes was measured. Responses were, overall, equally fast in each speech mode. However, analysis of effects previously reported in phoneme detection studies revealed significant differences between speech modes. In read speech but not in spontaneous speech, later targets were detected more rapidly than targets preceded by short words. In contrast, in spontaneous speech but not in read speech, targets were detected more rapidly in accented than in unaccented words and in strong than in weak syllables. An explanation for this pattern is offered in terms of characteristic prosodic differences between spontaneous and read speech. The results support claims from previous work that listeners pay great attention to prosodic information in the process of recognising speech.
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