Among other characteristics, voiced and voiceless consonants differ in voice onset time (VOT; Lisker & Abramson, 1964). In addition, in English, voiced consonants are typically followed by longer vowels than their unvoiced counterparts (Allen & Miller, 1999). In Spanish, this relationship is less systematic (Zimmerman & Sapon, 1958). In two experiments, we investigated perceptual sensitivities of English and Spanish native speakers to following vowel length (VL) in categorizing syllables that ranged from a prevoiced bilabial stop [ba] to a long-lag bilabial stop [pa]. According to our results, English speakers show sensitivity to following vowels with VLs falling within an English-typical range (Experiment 1), but not when vowels are shorter and in a Spanish-typical range (Experiment 2). Interestingly, Spanish native speakers do not show sensitivity to following VL in either condition. These results suggest that VOT-VL tradeoffs in perception reflect phonological sensitivities of listeners and are not reducible to speech rate compensation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Sociology and Political Science
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing