Role of the Syllable in the Processing of Spoken English: Evidence From a Nonword Comparison Task

Maggie Bruck, Rebecca Treiman, Marketa Caravolas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous research using monitoring tasks suggests that syllables do not play a role in the initial processing of speech by English listeners. The role of syllables in a different task, one involving the speeded comparison of 2 nonwords, was investigated. In 2 experiments, responses to nonword pairs that shared a complete syllable were significantly faster than responses to pairs that shared part of a syllable when the shared unit was at the beginning or in the middle of the nonwords. Results were mixed when the shared unit was at the end of the nonwords, possibly reflecting a confounding effect of rhyme. Findings suggest that syllabified representations of the nonwords may be used in a comparison task, even in English. Results are interpreted relative to different demands of the nonword comparison and monitoring tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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