Sonority Constraints on Onset-Rime Cohesion: Evidence from Native and Bilingual Filipino Readers of English

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Abstract
Research in English suggests that syllables can be analyzed in terms of two subunits—the onset (defined as the initial consonant or consonant cluster) and the rime (the unit formed by the vowel and following consonant/s). This study investigated whether nonnative readers of English, which in the case of the present study were native Filipino speakers, also make use of onset–rime units, particularly when some features of their native language (namely infixation and reduplication) appear to foster no awareness of such units. In two lexical decision experiments, monosyllabic English words were presented, divided in between their first and second consonants (e.g., B LIND), at their onset–rime boundary (e.g., BL IND), or at their antibody boundary (e.g., BLI ND). Results indicated that the processes of infixation and reduplication did not affect the English word processing of native Filipino speakers. Rather, results for both native Filipino and native English speakers suggest that onsets composed of an “s + consonant” sequence (e.g., STAMP) are less cohesive than onsets comprised of a stop–liquid sequence (e.g., BLIND). It was concluded that not only may sonority constraints underlie onset cohesiveness, but that such phonetic properties may also be involved in visual word recognition.
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Alonzo, Angelo
Taft, Marcus
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Publication Year
2002
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty