Lexical neighborhoods and phonological confusability in cross-dialect word recognition in noise
AbstractLexical neighborhood density is a well-known factor affecting phonological categorization in spoken word recognition. The current study examined the interaction between lexical neighborhood density and dialect variation in spoken word recognition in noise. The stimulus materials were real English words produced in two regional American English dialects. To manipulate lexical neighborhood density, target words were selected so that predicted phonological confusions across dialects
... oss dialects resulted in real English words in the word-competitor condition and did not result in real English words in the nonword-competitor condition. Word and vowel recognition performance were more accurate in the nonword-competitor condition than the word-competitor condition for both talker dialects. An examination of the responses to specific vowels revealed the role of dialect variation in eliciting this effect. When the predicted phonological confusions were real lexical neighbors, listeners could respond with either the target word or the confusable minimal pair, and were more likely than expected to produce a minimal pair differing from the target by one vowel. When the predicted phonological confusions were not real words, however, the listeners exhibited less lexical competition and responded with the target word or a minimal pair differing by one consonant.