Phonetic Reflexes of Orthographic Characteristics in Lexical Representation
Committee ChairHarley, Heidi
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA large domain of linguistic inquiry concerns the nature of words. It is widely thought that words are stored and represented in our minds in a structure termed the lexicon, in which every word has a 'lexical representation'. Researchers conduct experiments and examine intuitions about words to determine the content and structure of the lexicon. One interesting component in lexical representation, for literate speakers, is an orthographic representation for words. It has been traditionally assumed that while this orthographic information is available and useful in such tasks as visual word recognition (i.e. reading) or in writing, orthographic information about words is not necessarily involved in non-visual linguistic tasks, like auditory word perception, or speech production.There has been some research however, which has challenged this notion of the isolation of orthographic information to visual processes. In a seminal study Seidenberg and Tanenhaus (1979) found an influence of orthography in an auditory rhyming judgment task. Subjects were faster to judge as rhyming those pairs which shared an orthographic representation of the rhyme than those who shared only phonology (i.e. pie-tie vs. rye-tie). Additional recent research has confirmed these effects of orthography in auditory perception tasks (Taft & Hambly, 1985; Halle, Chereau, & Sequi, 2000; Ziegler & Ferrand, 1998). Even more surprisingly, some experiments have suggested effects of orthography in speech production (Tanenhaus, Finigan & Seidenberg, 1980; Lupker, 1982; Wheeldon & Monsell, 1992; Damion & Bowers, 2003). These experiments all show facilitated naming latencies for words which share orthographic characteristics with some prime environment. As such, these results can all be explained as effects of orthography on lexical access of words rather than affecting the production process per se.In contrast, the experiments and analyses described in this dissertation show an un-ambiguous effect of orthography on speech production. Orthographic characteristics of word-final sounds, and words themselves are shown to influence the durations of spoken productions of those sounds, and whole words. These effects are robust to the mode of lexical access, whether through experimentally elicited reading aloud of words, or through the spontaneous generation of words in a modified sociolinguistic interview format.