In VCV nonsense forms (such as /εdε/), while both the CV transition and the VC transition are perceptible in isolation, the CV transition dominates identification of the stop consonant. Thus, the question arises, what role, if any, do VC transitions play in word perception? Stimuli were two‐syllable English words in which the medial consonant was either a stop or a fricative (e.g., ’’feeding’’ and ’’gravy’’). Each word was constructed in three ways: (1) the VC transition was incompatible with the CV in either place, manner of articulation, or both; (2) the VC transition was eliminated and the steady‐state portion of first vowel was substituted in its place; and (3) the original word. All versions of a particular word were identical with respect to duration, pitch contour, and amplitude envelope. While an intelligibility test revealed no differences among the three conditions, data from a paired comparison preference task and an unspeeded lexical decision task indicated that incompatible VC transitions hindered word perception, but lack of VC transitions did not. However, there were clear differences among the three conditions in the speeded lexical decision task for word stimuli, but not for nonword stimuli that were constructed in an analogous fashion. We discuss the use of lexical decision tasks for speech quality assessment and possible processes by which listeners recognize spoken words.

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