Ernestus Colloquium on Thursday

Gradient phonological generalizations in speech processing

Mirjam Ernestus
Radboud University Nijmegen &
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Thursday Jan. 10, 2008
Cobb 201, 3.30-5 pm

Several studies have shown that speakers are sensitive to the absolute and statistically gradient phonological patterns in their mental lexicon. Participants prefer words conforming to these patterns, and they are slower in producing morphologically regular word forms violating the patterns. In this talk I will discuss two series of experiments that further investigate the role of gradient patterns in speech processing. The first series suggest that generalizations based on intraparadigmatic relations, between the forms of single word, have a stronger effect than those based on interparadigmatic relations, between the same types of forms of different words. The second series of experiments shows that phonologically gradient patterns affect also speech comprehension, even when listeners are focusing on content instead of form. This shows that gradient generalizations play a role in everyday language processing.