ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

3aSC3. On the internal perceptual structure of phonological features: The [voice] distinction.

Randy L. Diehl

Wendy A. Castleman

Dept. of Psych., Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

John Kingston

Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

Apart from phonological features and their individual phonetic correlates, an intermediate level of structure apparently exists in which subsets of phonetic properties form perceptually coherent units, referred to here as ``integrated perceptual properties.'' The mapping between each successive level of structure is arguably many-to-one, elevating both redundancy and distinctiveness at the level of phonological features. For the distinctive feature [voice], a main integrated perceptual property corresponding to the [+voice] value is the presence of low-frequency energy during or near the consonant, which may be further analyzed into at least three phonetically distinct subproperties: voicing during the consonant constriction, a low F1 near the constriction, and a low F0 in the same region. Two predictions follow if these three subproperties contribute to a single integrated perceptual property. One is that the effects on [voice] judgments of varying either a low F1 or F0 should pattern in similar ways for a given utterance position and stress pattern; this prediction was confirmed. The second prediction is that two stimuli in which separate subproperties of the low-frequency property are positively correlated (i.e., they are either both present or both absent) will be more distinguishable than two stimuli in which the subproperties are negatively correlated; though not yet confirmed for the pairing of F1 with F0, this prediction was confirmed for pairings of F1 or F0 with constriction voicing.