Alexander L. Francis

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Whether or not categorical perception results from the operation of a special, language-specific, speech mode remains controversial. In this cross-language (Mandarin Chinese, English) study of the categorical nature of tone perception, we compared native Mandarin and English speakers' perception of a physical continuum of fundamental frequency contours(More)
Learning new phonetic categories in a second language may be thought of in terms of learning to focus one's attention on those parts of the acoustic-phonetic structure of speech that are phonologically relevant in any given context. As yet, however, no study has demonstrated directly that training can shift listeners' attention between acoustic cues given(More)
A class of selective attention models often applied to speech perception is used to study effects of training on the perception of an unfamiliar phonetic contrast. Attention-to-dimension (A2D) models of perceptual learning assume that the dimensions that structure listeners' perceptual space are constant and that learning involves only the reweighting of(More)
In English, voiced and voiceless syllable-initial stop consonants differ in both fundamental frequency at the onset of voicing (onset F0) and voice onset time (VOT). Although both correlates, alone, can cue the voicing contrast, listeners weight VOT more heavily when both are available. Such differential weighting may arise from differences in the(More)
Identification and discrimination of lexical tones in Cantonese were compared in the context of a traditional categorical perception paradigm. Three lexical tone continua were used: one ranging from low level to high level, one from high rising to high level, and one from low falling to high rising. Identification data showed steep slopes at category(More)
Two groups of listeners, one of native speakers of a tone language (Mandarin Chinese) and one of native speakers of a non-tone language (English) were trained to recognize Cantonese lexical tones. Performance before and after training was measured using closed response-set identification and pairwise difference rating tasks. Difference ratings were(More)
This study investigated whether cochlear implant users can identify Cantonese lexical tones, which differ primarily in their F0 pattern. Seventeen early-deafened deaf children (age= 4 years, 6 months to 8 years, 11 months; postoperative period= 11-41 months) took part in the study. Sixteen children were fitted with the Nucleus 24 cochlear implant system;(More)
This study combined behavioral and electrophysiological measurements to investigate interactions during speech perception between native phonemes and talker's voice. In a Garner selective attention task, participants either classified each sound as one of two native vowels ([epsilon] and [ae]), ignoring the talker, or as one of two male talkers, ignoring(More)
This study investigates the role of two processes, cue enhancement (learning to attend to acoustic cues which characterize a speech contrast for native listeners) and cue inhibition (learning to ignore cues that do not), in the acquisition of the American English tense and lax ([i] vs.[I]) vowels by native Spanish listeners. This contrast is acoustically(More)
PURPOSE Information-processing limitations have been associated with language problems in children with specific language impairment (SLI). These processing limitations may be associated with limitations in attentional capacity, even in the absence of clinically significant attention deficits. In this study, the authors examined the performance of 4- to(More)