Place and manner asymmetries in perception of epenthetic stops

Takahito SHINYA (RIKEN Brain Science Institute)

The phonological markedness of labials and dorsals being more marked than coronals is often explained as a consequence of differences in degree of perceptual salience. To investigate whether or not such place markedness plays a role when segments are phonetically variable, a perceptual experiment was conducted with English epenthetic stops between a sonorant and a fricative, as in ‘false’ [fɔlts] or ‘strength’ [stɹɛŋkθ]. Listeners heard more epenthetic stops after [m] than after [n] and [ŋ], implying that not only coronals but dorsals are unmarked. Also, they heard more epenthetic stops after a nasal than a lateral, which suggests that the specification of [±continuant] for the sonorant is important to identify the place of the epenthetic stop heard after it.