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What are the "Eigensyllables" of speech?

Dear Colleagues,

I feel acutely that I should know a lot more about speech sounds, and am looking for reading recommendations. In particular I am interested in what studies are out there that would have charted the statistical distribution of speech sounds in various languages, or even just in English. Given the well known importance of experience in shaping phonetic boundaries, e.g. no r/l difference in Japanese, multiple /ae/ type sounds in Swedish..., surely there must be some good studies in this area.  Are there any key studies or good review papers that you could recommend?

Many thanks in advance,


Dr Jan Schnupp
University of Oxford
Dept. of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
Sherrington Building - Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3PT - UK