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Department of Cognitive Science

Cogntive Science Alumni

Lisa Yen

Lisa Yen

Thesis Details

An electropalatographic and acoustic analysis of frequency effects in the lexicon

Three studies investigated how speech production is influenced by psycholinguistic factors, such as phonotactics, lexical frequency and phonological neighbourhood size. The first study used electropalatography (EPG) to compare the articulation of consonant clusters in English and Japanese, which differ in the phonotactic constraints regarding legal consonant clusters. The study found that Japanese and English speakers were likely to assimilate clusters with different places of articulation but English speakers made an articulatory distinction if the cluster contained consonants with different places of articulation. The second study investigated consonant cluster articulation, using EPG, in high and low frequency compound words. The study found that high frequency words were produced with more complete assimilation than low frequency compound words. The third study used acoustic analysis to investigate how lexical frequency and phonological neighbourhood density influenced vowel production. The experiment found that vowels in low frequency words, from dense phonological neighbourhoods, were produced with a more expanded F1/F2 vowel space than high frequency words, from sparse phonological neighbourhoods. Additionally, this experiment looked at vowel production in nonwords from sparse and dense phonological neighbourhoods. Nonwords from sparse phonological neighbourhoods were produced with a more expanded vowel space than those in dense neighbourhoods. These results suggest that higher level cognitive processing does influence the phonetic realisation of words and nonwords. These findings are related to phonetic and cognitive models of speech production.

  • Type: PhD
  • Scholarship : RAACE
  • Supervisors : Marija Tabain, Max Coltheart and Jonathan Harrington (External).

Lisa is also a current member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. For more information on Lisa's research please visit their CCD profile.