Lexical representation of phonological variants: Evidence from pseudohomophone effects in different regiolects


  • Buerki Audrey
  • Alario F. Xavier
  • Frauenfelder Ulrich H.

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This study examined the lexical representation of words with two pronunciation variants. We tested whether both the schwa and reduced variants of French words are stored as lexical entries. The results of four experiments in which speakers named pseudohomophones and pseudowords show an advantage for pseudohomophones over matched pseudowords for both variants. As the pseudohomophone effect is assumed to reflect the activation of phonologically matching stored phonological representations, these results suggest that both variants of schwa words are stored. Importantly, the pseudohomophone effect is found for alternating words (Experiments 1 and 2) and for non-alternating words when the non-produced variant corresponds to the word's spelling (Experiment 3) or is frequently encountered in the speech of speakers of other regiolects (Experiment 4). These findings extend the scope of our previous proposal that words with two variants are stored with two lexemes. This conclusion needs to be integrated in word production models. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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