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Integration of multiple speech segmentation cues: A hierarchical framework

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laurence WhiteORCiD


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Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association. A central question in psycholinguistic research is how listeners isolate words from connected speech despite the paucity of clear word-boundary cues in the signal. A large body of empirical evidence indicates that word segmentation is promoted by both lexical (knowledge-derived) and sublexical (signal-derived) cues. However, an account of how these cues operate in combination or in conflict is lacking. The present study fills this gap by assessing speech segmentation when cues are systematically pitted against each other. The results demonstrate that listeners do not assign the same power to all segmentation cues; rather, cues are hierarchically integrated, with descending weights allocated to lexical, segmental, and prosodic cues. Lower level cues drive segmentation when the interpretive conditions are altered by a lack of contextual and lexical information or by white noise. Taken together, the results call for an integrated, hierarchical, and signal-contingent approach to speech segmentation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mattys SL, White L, Melhorn JF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Year: 2005

Volume: 134

Issue: 4

Pages: 477-500

Print publication date: 01/11/2005

ISSN (print): 0096-3445

ISSN (electronic): 1939-2222

Publisher: American Psychological Association


DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.134.4.477

PubMed id: 16316287


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