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.
Article Information
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: Received March 8, 2006 , Revised September 19, 2006 , Accepted April 4, 2007
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2007, Vol. 50, 1466-1480. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/101)
History: Received March 8, 2006; Revised September 19, 2006; Accepted April 4, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

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.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Ministero Italiano dell’Istruzione, dell’Universita e della Ricerca as well as by the French project “Patipapa: Modélisation de l’émergence d’un langage articulé dans une société d’agents sensori-moteurs en interaction [Patipapa: Modeling the emergence of an articulated languange in a society of sensorimotor agents in interaction]” (ACI Systèmes Complexes en SHS).
We thank Christian Abry, Barbara Davis, Judith Gierut, and Peter MacNeilage for helpful discussions on this study. We also thank Alain Arnal, Anahita Bassirat, and Christophe Savariaux for their help in preparing stimuli and scoring data.
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