Perception of English and Catalan vowels by English and Catalan listeners. Part II. Perceptual vs ecphoric similarity

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Although crosslinguistic similarity is a crucial concept for many disciplines in the speech sciences, there is no clear consensus as to the most appropriate method to measure it. This paper assessed the perceived similarity between English and Catalan vowels by means of an overt direct task evaluating perceptual similarity. The extent to which perceptual similarity is reciprocal is also explored by comparing perceptual judgements obtained by speakers of the two languages involved. Twenty-seven native Catalan speakers and 27 native English speakers rated the perceived dissimilarity between two aurally presented vowel stimuli. Trials included native–non-native pairs as well as native-native pairs to serve as baseline data. Some native–non-native pairs were perceived to be as similar as same-category native pairs, illustrating cases of very high crosslinguistic perceptual similarity. Further, in terms of reciprocity, the results showed a bidirectionality in similarity relationships that point to some cases of near-identical or shared categories and also illustrate the role of language-specific cue weighting in determining perceptual similarity. Finally, a comparison with the outcome of a previous study [Cebrian (2021). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 149(4), 2671–2685], involving the same participants and languages but exploring ecphoric similarity, shows a generally high degree of agreement and a close relationship between the two types of similarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2781–2793
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Early online date7 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


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