Memory & Cognition

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 573–583 | Cite as

Vowel mutability and lexical selection in English: Evidence from a word reconstruction task

  • Brit Van Ooijen


Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, Paris, France This study introduces a new paradigm for investigating lexical processing. First, an analysis of data from a series of word-spotting experiments is presented suggesting that listeners treat vowels as more mutable than consonants in auditory word recognition in English. In order to assess this hypothesis, a word reconstruction task was devised in which listeners were required to turn word-like nonwords into words by adapting the identity of either one vowel or one consonant. Listeners modified vowel identity more readily than consonant identity. Furthermore, incorrect responses more often involved a vowel change than a consonant change. These findings are compatible with the proposal that English listeners are equipped to deal with vowel variability by assuming that vowel identity is comparatively underdefined. The results are discussed in the light of theoretical accounts of speech processing.


Lexical Access Speak Word Recognition Journal Ofthe Acoustical Society ofAmerica Lexical Selection English Listener 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et PsycholinguistiqueParisFrance

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