Martha W. Burton
415 Moore Bldg., Dept. of Psychol., Penn State Univ., University Park, PA 16802
Karen E. Robblee
Penn State Univ., University Park, PA 16802
Previous research has provided acoustic phonetic evidence of voicing assimilation in obstruent clusters across prepositional boundaries in Russian [Burton et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 95, 2875(A) (1994)]. The current study investigated whether native speakers of Russian perceive the initial consonant in obstruent clusters consistent with the claims of voicing assimilation or whether they show sensitivity to the underlying voicing of the obstruent. Obstruent clusters that were at the boundary between a preposition and a word were excised from sentences produced by three native speakers of Russian. Listeners were presented with four fricative-stop combinations /zd,sd,zt,st/ and four stop-fricative combinations /dz,tz,ds,ts/ preceded by 30 ms of an unstressed vowel and followed by 70 ms of a stressed vowel. Subjects heard eight repetitions of three tokens of each cluster from each speaker. Results indicated that responses were consistent with the voicing characteristics of the following consonant, not the underlying consonant, supporting voicing assimilation. However, in the /zt/ clusters, there were more voiced responses than in the /st/ clusters, which suggests some evidence of incomplete devoicing of the fricative. Implications of the study for phonetic and phonological theories of speech will be discussed.