Children's perception of sibilants: The relation between articulation and perceptual development

Virginia A. Mann, Harriet M. Sharlin, Michael Dorman

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    5 Scopus citations


    When synthetic fricative noises from an [∫]-[s] continuum are followed by [a] and [u], adult listeners perceive fewer instances of [∫] in the context of the rounded vowel [u] (Mann & Repp, 1980). This perceptual context effect presumably reflects adjustment for certain coarticulatory effects and implies tacit knowledge of coarticulation and its consequences. To clarify the role of articulatory experience in the ontogeny of such knowledge and the consequent perceptual adjustment, the present study examined the effect of rounded and unrounded vowels on the perception of [s] and [∫] by adults, 5-, and 7-year-old children who produce [∫] and [s] and 7-year-old children who misarticulate these phonemes. All three groups of children showed a context effect equivalent to that of adults and independent of age and articulation ability. Therefore, productive mastery of [s] and [∫] is not critically responsible for perception of the [s]-[∫] distinction, nor for perceptual sensitivity to the consequences of sibilant-vowel coarticulation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)252-264
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 1985

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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