Tracking perception of the sounds of English

Natasha Warner, James M. McQueen, Anne Cutler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Twenty American English listeners identified gated fragments of all 2288 possible English within-word and cross-word diphones, providing a total of 538560 phoneme categorizations. The results show orderly uptake of acoustic information in the signal and provide a view of where information about segments occurs in time. Information locus depends on each speech sound's identity and phonological features. Affricates and diphthongs have highly localized information so that listeners' perceptual accuracy rises during a confined time range. Stops and sonorants have more distributed and gradually appearing information. The identity and phonological features (e.g., vowel vs consonant) of the neighboring segment also influences when acoustic information about a segment is available. Stressed vowels are perceived significantly more accurately than unstressed vowels, but this effect is greater for lax vowels than for tense vowels or diphthongs. The dataset charts the availability of perceptual cues to segment identity across time for the full phoneme repertoire of English in all attested phonetic contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2995-3006
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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