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La Résolution de la liaison par des locuteurs natifs et non-natifs

Abstract : The online segmentation of the continuous speech stream requires that the listener employ strategies to identify word and syllable boundaries. In French, the phonological processes of liaison and enchaînement often render these boundaries ambiguous (consider un air 'a melody' and un nerf 'a nerve'; both are syllabified as [œ̃.nɛʁ]). Some research on liaison (e.g. Spinelli et al., 2003; Wauquier-Gravelines, 1996) has suggested that speakers give listeners acoustic cues to word boundaries, and thus segmentation, through durational variation of pivotal consonants. Spinelli et al. suggest that priming of the word 'nerf' via un nerf versus via un air may be mediated by consonant length; a word-initial consonant (un Nerf) is longer than the corresponding consonant that surfaces in liaison (uN air). The current study more directly tested the perceptual capacities of speakers by employing a forced-choice identification task in which both native speakers of French and late learners of French as a second language were asked to differentiate ambiguous phonemic content. The results suggest that, though durational differences may be systematically present in the acoustic signal and may allow for the activation of vowel-initial candidates in the word recognition process, these durational differences are not robust enough to systematically guide listeners in disambiguation. Neither group performed above chance in the identification task; at the same time, the responses of the two groups were highly correlated. Factors involved in top-down processing such as frequency and plausibility were also taken into consideration, but these factors were found not to play a systematic role in the differentiation of ambiguous phonemic content.
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Ellenor Shoemaker, David Birdsong. La Résolution de la liaison par des locuteurs natifs et non-natifs. Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère, Association Encrages, 2008, 27, pp.43-62. ⟨halshs-00668888⟩

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