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Anglophone Perceptions Of Arabic Syllable Structure

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Chapter Summary

This chapter uses a novel empirical method based on incongruent audiovisual speech data to highlight the mediating role that syllabic structure plays in speech perception. To emphasize the internalization of the syllable, the chapter describes experiments probing the differences between Arabophones and Anglophones in the mental models mediating perception. The two groups respond differently to English and Arabic incongruent speech stimuli, and the chapter argues that the contrasting behavior reflects a basic difference in the internal syllabic structure engaged during perception. McGurk fusion studies have been accumulating in many laboratories for more than thirty years. With appropriate statistical analysis, experiments on the McGurk effect have been successful in probing syllabic structure. The chapter also uses Arabic words; these were real words for speakers of Arabic, but nonce words for the English speakers with no knowledge of Arabic.

Keywords: anglophone perceptions; Arabic syllable structure; arabophones; McGurk effect



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