Do you want /ʃoloka/ on a /bistɔk/? On the scope of transposed-phoneme effects with non-adjacent phonemes

Sophie Dufour,  Jonathan Mirault, & Jonathan Grainger

Psychon Bull Rev (2021)

We conducted two lexical decision experiments and one replication study to examine the scope of transposed-phoneme effects when the transposition involves non-adjacent phonemes. The critical stimuli were non-words derived from a real word (the base-word) either by transposing two phonemes or by substituting the same phonemes with different phonemes. In Experiment 1, the transposed phonemes belonged either to the same syllable (e.g. /bis.tɔk/ for the French base-word /bis.kɔt/) or to a different syllable (e.g. /ʃo.lo.ka/ for the French base-word /ʃ and were located either at the beginning of the speech signal (e.g. /sib.kɔt/ for /bis.kɔt/; /ko.ʃ for /ʃ or at the end (e.g. /bis.tɔk/ for /bis.kɔt/; /ʃo.lo.ka/ for /ʃ Experiment 2 compared within-syllable and between-syllable transpositions derived from the same set of bi-syllabic base-words (e.g., /sib.kɔt/, /bik.sɔt/, /bis.tɔk/ for the base-word /biskɔt/). In both experiments, we found clear transposed-phoneme effects with longer “no” decisions for transposed-phoneme non-words compared with the matched substituted-phoneme non-words. The effect was of similar magnitude when the transposed phonemes occurred in the same syllable and across different syllables. Also, for both the within- and between-syllable transpositions, the size of the transposed-phoneme effect did not vary as a function of the position of the transposition. Overall, our results suggest that phonemes can migrate across their respective positions not only within a syllable, but also across syllables. More importantly, they also suggest that position-independent phonemes exert a continuous influence during the entire processing of the auditory stimulus to the extent that there is sufficient time for this influence to manifest itself.

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