The phonetic specificity of competition: Contrastive hyperarticulation of voice onset time in conversational English

Noah Richard Nelson, Andrew Wedel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Competition between words in the lexicon is associated with hyperarticulation of phonetic properties in production. This correlation has been reported for metrics of competition varying in the phonetic specificity of the relationship between target and competitor (e.g., neighborhood density, onset competition, cue-specific minimal pairs). Sampling a systematic array of competition metrics, we tested their ability to predict voice onset times in both voiced and voiceless word-initial stops of conversational English. Linear mixed effects models were compared according to their corrected Akaike's Information Criterion (AICc) values. High-performing models were evaluated using evidence ratios, with the competition metrics of top-performing models tested for significance using nested model comparisons. Words with a minimal pair defined for initial stop voicing were contrastively hyperarticulated, with shorter voice onset times for voiced stops and longer voice onset times for voiceless stops. No other competition metric reliably predicted hyperarticulation for both stop types. These results suggest that contrastive hyperarticulation is phonetically specific, increasing the perceptual distance between target and competitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-70
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Volume64
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Competition
  • Conversational speech
  • Hyperarticulation
  • Minimal pairs
  • Neighborhood density
  • Voice onset time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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