The level of perception of illusory vowels

Jiwon Hwang, Ellen Broselow


We report on results of perception experiments comparing Korean and English native speakers on stop-nasal sequences. In a categorization task, Korean listeners reported the presence of a vowel significantly more often than English listeners only when the stop was voiced. However, in an ERP experiment, both groups displayed significant MMN responses to the presence/absence of the vowel regardless of the voicing of the stop. The results of the current experiments provide evidence that language-specific perception of the absence/presence of a vowel in stop-nasal sequences takes place not at the preattentive auditory level but rather at the level of phonological categorization.

Full Text: