6. Intraparadigmatic effects on the perception of voice

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In Dutch, all morpheme-final obstruents are voiceless in word-final position. As a consequence, the distinction between obstruents that are voiced before vowel-initial suffixes and those that are always voiceless is neutralized. This study adds to the existing evidence that the neutralization is incomplete: neutralized, alternating plosives tend to have shorter bursts than non-alternating plosives. Furthermore, in a rating study, listeners scored the alternating plosives as more voiced than the nonalternating plosives, showing sensitivity to the subtle subphonemic cues in the acoustic signal. Importantly, the participants who were presented with the complete words, instead of just the final rhymes, scored the alternating plosives as even more voiced. This shows that listeners’ perception of voice is affected by their knowledge of the obstruent’s realization in the word’s morphological paradigm. Apparently, subphonemic paradigmatic levelling is a characteristic of both production and perception. We explain the effects within an analogy-based approach.


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