Morphological effects on pronunciation
Scobbie, James M.
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Mousikou, P., Strycharczuk, P., Turk, A., Rastle, K. & Scobbie, J. M. (2015) Morphological effects on pronunciation. In: Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), Glasgow, 10-14 August 2015, [Paper no: 816].
Converging, albeit inconsistent, empirical evidence suggests that the morphological structure of a word influences its pronunciation. We investigated this issue using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging in the context of an experimental cognitive psychology paradigm. Scottish speakers were trained on apparently homophonous monomorphemic and bimorphemic novel words (e.g. zord, zorred), and tested on speech production tasks. Monomorphemic items were realised acoustically with shorter durations than bimorphemic items; however, this difference was not statistically significant. Progressive coarticulatory effects were also observed in the monomorphemic condition for some speakers. A dynamic analysis of the articulatory data revealed that the observed differences in the pronunciations of the two types of items could be due to factors other than morphological structure. Our results, albeit inconclusive, make a significant contribution to the literature in this research domain insofar as the presence or absence of morphological effects on pronunciation has important implications for extant theories of speech production.