On the perceived quantity of young children's speech segments
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Nakai, S. & Kunnari, S. (2014) On the perceived quantity of young children's speech segments, , , , pp. 119-144, Pisa
This chapter considers why young children's speech segments are often perceived by adults as geminates in light of two studies on the perception of phonological quantity in Finnish and Japanese. Study 1 used stimulus continua created from a nonword keke, which orthogonally varied in the word-medial stop's absolute (raw) duration and its durational ratios to the neighbouring vowels. For both Finnish and Japanese, the adults' perception of phonological quantity of the wordmedial stop was jointly affected by the two manipulated factors: the longer its absolute duration, the more likely the word-medial stop was perceived as a geminate, for any given set of durational ratios between the stop and the neighbouring vowels. Study 2 found the same effects in the native-speaker adults' perception of Finnish and Japanese children's early words: the adults often judged the word-medial stop in the children's attempts at disyllabic words as a geminate if the word-medial stop had a long absolute duration, even if its duration relative to neighbouring vowels was short. We suggest that young children's slow articulation rate makes their speech segments prone to be perceived as geminates by the adults.