Coarticulatory effects of consonants on vowels and their reflection in perception  

Hartmut Traunmüller

Proceedings from the XIIth Swedish Phonetics Conference (1999): 141 - 144  


The coarticulatory effects of consonants on vowels may be restricted by the need to keep vowel phonemes distinct. Such restrictions are minimal for the schwa-like vowels in the NW-Caucasian languages and in Northern Chinese, which is shown to display a wide range of such effects. Co-occurrence restrictions and preferences motivated by coarticulatoy ease exist in many languages. Consonant confusions observed in CV- and VC-syllables under various forms of distortion are discussed in order to see the perceptual effects of coarticulation. It is found that listeners tend to ascribe to the consonant some of the properties of the vowel when the consonantal segment is impoverished in information. Such perceptual "reattribution" is likely to be quite important for the perception of spontaneous speech. It is observed that reattribution may also be based on other factors, in addition to coarticulation.

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