Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Learning to parse liaison-initial words: An eye-tracking study*


This study investigates the processing of resyllabified words by native English speakers at three proficiency levels in French and by native French speakers. In particular, it examines non-native listeners’ development of a parsing procedure for recognizing vowel-initial words in the context of liaison, a process that creates a misalignment of the syllable and word boundaries in French. The participants completed an eye-tracking experiment in which they identified liaison- and consonant-initial real and nonce words in auditory stimuli. The results show that the non-native listeners had little difficulty recognizing liaison-initial real words, and they recognized liaison-initial nonce words more rapidly than consonant-initial ones. By contrast, native listeners recognized consonant-initial real and nonce words more rapidly than liaison-initial ones. These results suggest that native and non-native listeners used different parsing procedures for recognizing liaison-initial words in the task, with the non-native listeners’ ability to segment liaison-initial words being phonologically abstract rather than lexical.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: 2090 Foreign Language Building, 707 S. Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL
Hide All

This research was supported by the University of Illinois Research Board. I am very grateful to Vanessa Bordo, Chris Carignan, Juliette Dade and Éléonore LeCorvaisier for their assistance with this project, and to Sarah Brown-Schmidt, Jean-Pierre Chevrot, Caitlin Coughlin, Anne Cutler, Gary Dell, Zsuzsanna Fagyal, Cindy Fisher, Scott Frauendorf, Susan Garnsey, Meryl Garrison, Peter Golato, Angie Isaacs, Scott Jackson, Tuan Lam, Eun-Kyung Lee, Nathan Owens, Elsa Spinelli, Alison Trude, Duane Watson and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. Of course, I am solely responsible for any errors or misunderstandings in this article.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. E. Carroll (2001). Input and evidence. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

N. Nguyen , S. Wauquier-Gravelines , L. Lancia , & B. Tuller (2007). Detection of liaison consonants in speech processing in French: Experimental data and theoretical implications. In P. Prieto , J. Mascaró & M.-J. Solé (eds.), Segmental and prosodic issues in Romance phonology, pp. 323. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

B. VanPatten (1996). Input processing and grammar instruction: Theory and research. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • ISSN: 1366-7289
  • EISSN: 1469-1841
  • URL: /core/journals/bilingualism-language-and-cognition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 23 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 132 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 27th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.