Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
The rate of context speech can influence phonetic perception. This study investigated the bounds of rate dependence by observing the influence of nonspeech precursor rate on speech categorization. Three experiments tested the effects of pure-tone precursor presentation rate on the perception of a [ba]-[wa] series defined by duration-varying formant transitions that shared critical temporal and spectral characteristics with the tones. Results showed small but consistent shifts in the stop-continuant boundary distinguishing [ba] and [wa] syllables as a function of the rate of precursor tones, across various manipulations in the amplitude of the tones. The effect of the tone precursors extended to the entire graded structure of the [w] category, as estimated by category goodness judgments. These results suggest a role for durational contrast in rate-dependent speech categorization.