Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Four experiments explored the relative contributions of spectral content and phonetic labeling in effects of context on vowel perception. Two 10-step series of CVC syllables ([bVb] and [dVd]) varying acoustically in F2 midpoint frequency and varying perceptually in vowel height from [^] to [ε] were synthesized. In a forced-choice identification task, listeners more often labeled vowels as [^] in [dVd] context than in [bVb] context. To examine whether spectral content predicts this effect, nonspeech–speech hybrid series were created by appending 70-ms sine-wave glides following the trajectory of CVC F2’s to 60-ms members of a steady-state vowel series varying in F2 frequency. In addition, a second hybrid series was created by appending constant-frequency sine-wave tones equivalent in frequency to CVC F2 onset/offset frequencies. Vowels flanked by frequencymodulated glides or steady-state tones modeling [dVd] were more often labeled as [^] than were the same vowels surrounded by nonspeech modeling [bVb]. These results suggest that spectral content is important in understanding vowel context effects. A final experiment tested whether spectral content can modulate vowel perception when phonetic labeling remains intact. Voiceless consonants, with lower-amplitude more-diffuse spectra, were found to exert less of an influence on vowel perception than do their voiced counterparts. The data are discussed in terms of a general perceptual account of context effects in speech perception.




Copyright 2000 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Volume 108, Issue 2, pp. 710-722 and may be found at