Sally G. Revoile
Peggy B. Nelson
Gallaudet Univ., Ctr. for Auditory and Speech Sci., 800 Florida Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002
Our understanding is incomplete of the properties of vowel formant transitions that contribute to distinctions of voiced stop and glide consonants in speech. Research appears to have established some of the important transition cues for discernment of bilabial synthetic stops versus glides. However, the stop/glide transitions studied have typically been more stylized than those found in natural speech. This investigation examined the importance of transitions to listeners' identification of initial stops and glides in spoken /CVk/ syllables. Performance was assessed for the stops and glides with progressive deletion of segments from the syllables' onsets. Bilabial and velar stops and glides as well as alveolar stops were tested in /C(small capital you)k/, /C(open aye)k/, /C(ae ligature)k/ contexts to examine differences in transition use among phoneme environments. Twelve normal-hearing young adults participated as listeners. In general, when the initial stop bursts were deleted, the F2 transition frequency extent was significantly correlated with subjects' consonant identification response patterns. That is, longer F2 frequency extents yielded a higher percentage of glide responses. In addition, shorter F2 frequency extents resulted in a higher proportion of ``no initial consonant'' responses. Neither F2 transition duration nor F1 transition duration/frequency extent significantly correlated with the subjects' consonant identifications.