The Contribution of Consonants and Vowels to Auditory Word Recognition Is Shaped by Language-Specific Properties: Evidence From Hebrew

Yaara Lador-Weizman, Avital Deutsch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored the role of consonants and vowels in auditory word perception in Hebrew, using an auditory-auditory priming procedure. A common finding is the greater importance for consonants than vowels in spoken word processing, henceforth the C-bias. What underlies the C-bias is a controversial issue between the "acquired functional hypothesis" and the "initial-bias hypothesis." The former predicts a different pattern of asymmetry among languages, while the latter claims that the C-bias exists in all languages. Hebrew is interesting because it allows the exploration of whether language-specific morphological properties can modulate consonant/vowel asymmetry. This opportunity stems from its unique complex Semitic morphological structure that was found to have a central role in lexical access. To evaluate the consonant/vowel asymmetry in Hebrew in relation to previously studied languages, recognition of morphologically complex Hebrew words was compared with recognition of foreign Hebrew words that do not have the typical Hebrew morphological complex structure, hereafter simple words. The results showed a significantly stronger C-bias for morphologically complex words than for simple words. We suggest that this within-variation supports the acquired functional hypothesis, so that even within one language different patterns of consonant/vowel asymmetry are revealed depending on the internal morphological structure of the word. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)401-426
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume48
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Auditory word perception
  • Auditory-auditory priming
  • C-bias in hebrew
  • Consonants and vowels in speech perception

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