Article/Report  |   December 2007
A Perceptual Correlate of the Labial-Coronal Effect
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marc Sato
    Université Stendhal, Grenoble, France, and Università di Parma, Parma, Italy
  • Nathalie Vallée
    Université Stendhal
  • Jean-Luc Schwartz
    Université Stendhal
  • Isabelle Rousset
    Université Stendhal
  • Contact author: Nathalie Vallée, Institut de la Communication Parlée, UMR CNRS N° 5009, Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, Université Stendhal, BP25, 38040 Grenoble Cedex 9, France. E-mail: nathalie.vallee@icp.inpg.fr.
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article/Report   |   December 2007
A Perceptual Correlate of the Labial-Coronal Effect
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2007, Vol.50, 1466-1480. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/101)
History: Accepted 04 Apr 2007 , Received 08 Mar 2006 , Revised 19 Sep 2006
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2007, Vol.50, 1466-1480. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/101)
History: Accepted 04 Apr 2007 , Received 08 Mar 2006 , Revised 19 Sep 2006

Purpose: Statistical studies conducted in various languages on both infants and adults have revealed an intersyllabic preference for initiating words with a labial consonant–vowel–coronal consonant sequence. Speech motor constraints have been proposed to explain this so-called labial-coronal effect. This study was designed to test for a possible perceptual correlate of the labial-coronal effect in French adults.

Method: The authors examined the perceptual stabilities of repeatedly presented disyllabic sequences, involving either a labial-vowel–coronal-vowel (LC) or a coronal-vowel–labial-vowel (CL) phonological structure. With this aim, they exploited the verbal transformation effect, which refers to the perceptual changes experienced while listening to a speech form cycled in rapid and continuous repetition. Two experiments were carried out, involving either voiced or unvoiced plosive consonants.

Results: In both experiments, a greater stability and attractiveness was observed for LC stimuli, which suggests that in a (…)LCLC(…) flow, the listener could more naturally provide a segmentation into LC chunks.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the labial-coronal effect also occurs in the course of online speech processing. This result is interpreted in relation with theories assuming a link between perception and action in the human speech processing system.

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