Stop-consonant recognition: Release bursts and formant transitions as functionally equivalent, context-dependent cues

Michael Dorman, M. Studdert-Kennedy, L. J. Raphael

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Three experiments assessed the roles of release bursts and formant transitions as acoustic cues to place of articulation in syllable-initial voiced stop consonants by systematically removing them from American English /b,d,g/, spoken before nine different vowels by two speakers, and by transposing the bursts across all vowels for each class of stop consonant. The results showed that bursts were largely invariant in their effect, but carried significant perceptual weight in only one syllable out of 27 for Speaker 1, in only 13 syllables out of 27 for Speaker 2. Furthermore, bursts and transitions tended to be reciprocally related: Where the perceptual weight of one increased, the weight of the other declined. They were thus shown to be functionally equivalent, context-dependent cues, each contributing to the rapid spectral changes that follow consonantal release. The results are interpreted as pointing to the possible role of the front-cavity resonance in signaling place of articulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-122
Number of pages14
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1977


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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