Implicit learning of phonotactic constraints: Transfer from perception to production


This study asked whether new linguistic patterns acquired through recent perception experience can transfer to speech production. Participants heard and spoke sequences of syllables featuring novel phonotactic constraints (e.g. /f/ is always a syllable onset, /s/ is always a syllable coda). Participants’ speech errors reflected weaker learning of the constraints present in the spoken sequences (e.g. /f/ must be onset) when they heard sequences with the inverse constraints (e.g. /f/ must be coda), suggesting that the constraints experienced in perception interfered with learning in production. The results did not depend on the presence of a shared orthographic code in perception and production trials, suggesting that direct transfer between heard speech and produced speech is possible, perhaps through prediction via inner speech. Further work is needed to determine the exact mechanism supporting inter-modality transfer of phonological generalizations.

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