Probabilistic Phonotactics and Spoken Word Recognition – Paul Luce (Department of Psychology, SUNY, Buffalo)
Probabilistic phonotactics refers to the positional and sequential probabilities of speech sounds within and between spoken syllables and words. I will discuss research examining the role of probabilistic phonotactics in both the perception of isolated spoken words and the detection of words in connected speech. Phonotactic effects reveal a number of interesting properties about the architecture of the system responsible for the perception of spoken language. In particular, effects of probabilistic phonotactics provide insights into the levels of representation and process involved in spoken word recognition, as well as the role of form-based lexical representations in segmenting words from the speech stream. I will argue that accounting for the role of phonotactics in recognition provides an important evaluation metric for current theories of spoken word recognition.