In this investigation, the effects of context on the perception of voicing contrasts specified by voice‐onset‐time (VOT) in syllable‐initial stop consonants were examined. In an earlier paper [J. L. Miller and L. E. Volaitis, Percept. Psychophys. 46, 505–512 (1989)], it was reported that the listener’s adjustment for one contextual variable, speaking rate, was not confined to the region of the phonetic category boundary, but extended throughout the phonetic category. The current investigation examines whether this type of perceptual remapping also occurs for another contextual variable, the place of articulation of the syllable‐initial consonant. In a preliminary experiment that involved acoustic measurement of natural speech, it was confirmed that as place of articulation moves from labial to velar, VOT increases, and it was established that this occurs across a range of speaking rates (syllable durations). In the main experiments, which focused on the voiceless category, it was found that this acoustic change was reflected in perception not only as a shift in the location of the voiced–voiceless category boundary, but also a change in both the specific range of stimuli identified as members of the voiceless category and the set of stimuli judged to be the best exemplars, or prototypes, of the category. These findings extend earlier research by showing that a change in place of articulation, like a change in speaking rate, systematically alters the internal perceptual structure of voicing categories.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.