A search for a word-beginning superiority effect

S.G. Nooteboom, M.J. van der Vlugt

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This article reports two experiments examining whether or not auditory word recognition is more sensitive to word-initial than to word-final stimulus information. In the first experiment the contributibns of prefixes and suffixes to word recognition were compared. These affixes carried widely varying amounts of lexical information and were added to somewhat degraded monomorphematic word stems in Dutch synthetic speech. Although there was a strong effect of lexical information on word recognition, no difference was found between the contributions of prefixes and suffixes. In the second experiment the effects of masking with noise of either initial or final parts of polysyllabic and monomorphematic synthesized Dutch words Were compared. The amount of lexical redundancy carried by initial and final parts of words was the same. Again no difference was found. We conclude that the process of lexical activation during spoken-word recognition is equally sensitive to word-initial and word-final stimulus information. A special role of word onsets remains because the onsets can ensure proper temporal alignment between stimulus and candidate word forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2018-2032
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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