The time course of individuals’ perception of coarticulatory information is linked to their production: Implications for sound change

Patrice Speeter Beddor, Andries W. Coetzee, Will Styler, Kevin B. McGowan, Julie E. Boland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Understanding the relation between speech production and perception is foundational to phonetic theory, and is similarly central to theories of the phonetics of sound change. For sound changes that are arguably perceptually motivated, it is particularly important to establish that an individual listener’s selective attention—for example, to the redundant information afforded by coarticulation—is reflected in that individual’s own productions. This study reports the results of a pair of experiments designed to test the hypothesis that individuals who produce more consistent and extensive coarticulation will attend to that information especially closely in perception. The production experiment used nasal airflow to measure the time course of participants’ coarticulatory vowel nasalization; the perception experiment used an eye-tracking paradigm to measure the time course of those same participants’ attention to coarticulated nasality. Results showed that a speaker’s coarticulatory patterns predicted, to some degree, that individual’s perception, thereby supporting the hypothesis: participants who produced earlier onset of coarticulatory nasalization were, as listeners, more efficient users of nasality as that information unfolded over time. Thus, an individual’s perception of coarticulated speech is made public through their productions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-968
Number of pages38
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Kerby Shedden for advice on statistical modeling, Skye Huerta and Karen Tan for assistance with data coding, and Anthony Brasher for help with pilot data collection. This work has greatly benefited from the comments of members of several audiences, especially those at ICPhS 2015, the 2017 Fourth Workshop on Sound Change, and the University of Michigan Phonetics-Phonology Research Group. Given that the current editor of Language is a coauthor of this article, the editorial process was anonymously managed by a guest editor. We express our appreciation to the guest editor for their professional handling of the manuscript, and to three anonymous referees for their valuable comments. This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BCS-1348150 to Patrice Beddor and Andries Coetzee; any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Linguistic Society of America. All rights reserved.


  • Coarticulation
  • Individual differences
  • Nasalization
  • Sound change
  • Speech perception
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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