, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 834-842

Adaptation to time-compressed speech: Phonological determinants

Abstract

Perceptual adaptation to time-compressed speech was analyzed in two experiments. Previous research has suggested that this adaptation phenomenon is language specific and takes place at the phonological level. Moreover, it has been proposed that adaptation should only be observed for languages that are rhythmically similar. This assumption was explored by studying adaptation to different time-compressed languages in Spanish speakers. In Experiment 1, the performances of Spanish-speaking subjects who adapted to Spanish, Italian, French, English, and Japanese were compared. In Experiment 2, subjects from the same population were tested with Greek sentences compressed to two different rates. The results showed adaptation for Spanish, Italian, and Greek and no adaptation for English and Japanese, with French being an intermediate case. To account for the data, we propose that variables other than just the rhythmic properties of the languages, such as the vowel system and/or the lexical stress pattern, must be considered. The Greek data also support the view that phonological, rather than lexical, information is a determining factor in adaptation to compressed speech.

This research was supported by grants from the Human Frontier Science Program and the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Contract PB97-0997) and the Catalan Government (Grup de Recerca Consolidat 5120-UB-05).