Vowel Perception and Production
Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown
Vowel identification is influenced by various parameters which enhance or hinder perceptual processing. Those stimuli that are typically more readily identified than are others likely require less time for listeners to make their responses. It was expected that differences in the accuracy of identification across the various vowel categories would be reflected in the reaction times of the respondents. Listeners made judgments across sixteen different vowel categories. Within each block listeners heard a unique randomization of tokens. The listeners were 20 male and female undergraduate students residing in the Midwestern U.S. The speakers were 20 African American and European American adult males and females whose utterances were screened for dialectal variation to ensure that the productions were in General American English (GAE). Results for identification accuracy included a significant main effect across vowel categories. In addition, results for identification reaction time included a significant main effect across phonemic classes. Frontal vowel placement was found to be advantageous for increasing listeners’ accuracy and decreasing their reaction times in vowel identification. These findings suggest that there is differential perceptual facility across the vowel quadrilateral.
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