Perception of Time-Varying Resonance Frequencies in Speech and Non-Speech Stimuli
Time-varying formant frequencies constitute essential cues for the perception of phoneme sequences in connected speech. This paper investigates the conditions under which such formant transitions elicit perception of two contiguous phonemic segments in a syllablelike unit. Based on the analysis of formant transitions in natural speech, synthetic speech stimuli were generated with various values of magnitude, rate, and duration of formant transitions. Discrimination tests of dynamic and static stimuli indicated the existence of perceptual extrapolation of targets that underlie formant transitions. Results of discrimination tests on non-speech stimuli with similar formant transitions suggested that the extrapolation was to a large extent auditory, and thus was not specific to perception of speech stimuli. On the other hand, identification tests of dynamic and static speech stimuli clearly indicated the short-term context effect in perception of connected segments, which was quantified as the amount of temporary shift in the threshold for phonemic judgment due to perception of the immediately preceding segment. Vowels, semivowels and stop consonants were compared with respect to the magnitude of the context effect which they exert on the perception of the following segment.
KeywordsFormant Transition Context Effect Formant Frequency Speech Stimulus Discrimination Test
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