«Journal of Phonetics (2002) 30, 139–162 doi:10.1006/jpho.2002.0176 Available online at on The phonetics of phonological ...»
These ﬁndings support the claims of a growing number of researchers that transcription is inadequate for complete error coding, as transcription makes incorrect assumptions about the wholly categorical and abstract nature of the data (Laver, 1980; Boucher, 1994; Ferber 1995). Transcription techniques are susceptible to perceptual bias, and so can be expected to be eﬀective only when bias is 160 S. A. Frisch and R. Wright minimized. Thus, data from experimentally elicited errors that are recorded and can be examined repeatedly are much more reliable than naturally occurring errors that are transcribed opportunistically while the ‘‘experimenter’’ is engaged in conversation or otherwise not completely focused on the transcription task. But even careful listening techniques will still be inﬂuenced by listener bias, and gradient errors are likely to be missed. In our own perception of the tokens in our corpus, there was a heavy perceptual bias to detect errors in /s/ production and not errors in /z/ production. The acoustically determined error pattern suggests that there were in fact more /z/ errors than /s/ errors.
The categorical tendencies in the acoustics of the productions in our corpus provide evidence that gestures tend to be organized into permissible segments. This tendency interacted with the lexical status of the outcome, suggesting that gestures tend to be organized into permissible words. Extending the tendency to produce phonetically normal segments and words to the more general case can explain the traditional claim that errors result in grammatical sequences of segments. Errors tend to result in grammatical sequences. Stemberger’s (1983) very carefully collected corpus of naturally occurring errors supports the claim that grammaticality is a tendency, but not an absolute. He found some perceptually detectable but phonotactically anomalous productions in naturally occurring dialogue. The agreement between our analysis and Stemberger’s corpus also suggests that our conclusions are not speciﬁc to tongue twisters, and that they apply to speech production in general.
Overall, our ﬁndings are incompatible with models of speech production that involve selecting, organizing, and ordering abstract discrete representational units into a frame that is then implemented by the phonetic module (e.g., the scan-copier model of Shattuck-Hufnagel, 1979). The interaction between the articulatory details of speech production and organization at the lexical and segmental levels suggests that there is a hierarchically organized and interactive production mechanism that manipulates phonetic units directly. Appropriate models that use discrete linguistic levels and spreading activation (Dell, 1986) or less explicitly organized connectionist architecture (Dell, Juliano & Govindjee, 1993) have previously been proposed as models of phonological encoding that sometimes generate speech errors at the level of words and segments. These models are compatible with our ﬁndings if they are extended to include competition at the level the articulatory plans of segments. We conclude from this that the phonetics of phonological speech errors is an important topic for future research in speech production.
Parts of this research were presented at the 133rd and 134th meetings of the Acoustical Society of America, the 72nd annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, and the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. We would like to thank those audiences for their questions and suggestions. We would also like to thank Dani Byrd, Terry Nearey, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper This work supported in part by NIH Training Grant DC 00012 to Indiana University and by the Language Learning Research Assistant Professorship at the University of Michigan.
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