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The neural signature of phonological variation

Thursday 14 December 2017
Van Wijkplaats
Van Wijkplaats 2
2311 BX Leiden

A preliminary ERP study of phoneme and allophone violations

Previous research has shown that unexpected variation in speech can incur various processing difficulties on the part of the listener. This has been shown for general regional accents (e.g. [1]), but also specifically for phonological phenomena; the latter particularly in the context of ERPs. Mismatch-negativity studies find that allophone violations incur larger MMN amplitudes ([2,3]); [4] found that generally-accented realizations lead to reduced PMN and N400 amplitudes, specifically when the accent contains salient phonological substitutions (as in the case of a strong foreign accent). As shown behaviorally by [5], such substitutions can be perceptually learned, but not when the substitution crosses a phoneme boundary, and only when the substitution is vocalic rather than consonantal ([6]). The present study investigates whether these effects can also be observed in ERPs.

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