ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

5pSP45. A developmental study of vowel perception from brief synthetic consonant--vowel syllables.

Ralph N. Ohde

Katarina L. Haley

Christine W. McMahon

Div. of Hear. and Speech Sci., Box 552, Sta. 17, Vanderbilt Univ. School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232

The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptual role of brief synthetic consonant--vowel syllables as cues for vowels in children and adults. Stop--consonant syllables were synthesized in the context of three vowels, [i, u (open aye)], with durations of 10, 30, or 46 ms. These syllables were produced with bursts, and contained formant motions and/or formant onset frequencies appropriate for each stop--consonant place of articulation. Eight children at each of five age levels, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 11, and a control group of eight adults were trained to identify the vowel as either /i/, /u/, or /(open aye)/. The findings showed that children and adults extracted vowel information at a generally high level from stimuli as brief as one glottal pulse (together with initial burst). However, significant effects were found for age, vowel, duration, and transition type. The age effects manifested that even quantal vowels were not identified in an adult-like manner by young children. The duration and transition-type effects revealed that vowel perception was sometimes better for longer syllables with moving formant transitions. Overall, these perceptual findings indicate that syllable identification is more salient in adults than children. [Work supported by NIH, DC00464.]