Phonotactic Constraints and English Language Learning” Patrick Liu - Linguistics Scholar B.A., Ph.D Harvard. Languages are subject to phonotactic constraints—restrictions on sound sequences. An implicit learning paradigm examined whether participants could acquire. Phonotactics is a central concern in phonology. However, the status of these constraints in cognitive linguistics is different from that in the traditional generative.


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The current study has the potential to expand phonotactic constraints the existing knowledge base for the types of cross-linguistic phonological interactions that occur during bilingual language comprehension.

  • Phonotactic Constraints Are Activated across Languages in Bilinguals
  • Limits on Learning Phonotactic Constraints from Recent Production Experience
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  • Introduction
  • Limits on Learning Phonotactic Constraints from Recent Production Experience

Current Study In the current study, we explore phonotactic constraints the first time whether bilinguals co-activate phonotactic constraints from the non-target phonotactic constraints during comprehension. Furthermore, while phonotactic constraint activation has been observed empirically during production e.


Thus, the current study attempts to provide evidence for the extent phonotactic constraints which cross-linguistic structures are accessed during language comprehension in bilinguals. In order to measure if bilinguals activated phonotactic constraints phonotactic constraints the non-target language Spanishwe employed a cross-modal phonological priming lexical decision PPLD task.

We used cognates and non-cognates to index availability of phonotactic constraints in different contexts of cross-linguistic phonological activation e.

Phonotactic constraints in cognitive phonology

For example, when Spanish—English bilinguals hear the cognate stable unfold through the acoustic stream, they may initially activate phonological cohorts from both languages e.

Phonotactic constraints, we examine both phonotactic-constraint-and-form access as phonotactic constraints as phonotactic-constraint-only access across English and Spanish in order to dissociate constraint from form overlap e.

We will phonotactic constraints refer to the phonotactic-constraint-and-form manipulation as the PCF condition, phonotactic constraints to the phonotactic-constraint-only manipulation as the PC condition. The slips reflected the phonotactic distribution within the experiment and hence demonstrated learning of that distribution.

Moreover, the learning was rapid.

The experimental constraint phonotactic constraints Dell et al. Using Dell et al. Participants were able to learn this constraint as evidenced by their speech errors.


Three additional experiments by Warker and Dell replicated the learning of second-order constraints. In general terms, phonotactic constraints vowels like [a] have the highest sonority because the vocal tract is open and a large amount of acoustic energy radiates from the vocal phonotactic constraints.

Phonotactic Constraints Are Activated across Languages in Bilinguals

At the other extreme, voiceless oral stops have least sonority because there is no acoustic energy during the closure in which the vocal tract is constricted. Phonotactic constraints structured in this way are said phonotactic constraints conform to the sonority profile.

If they conform to the sonority profile, consonants sequences in phonotactic constraints onsets increase in sonority from phonotactic constraints to right and consonant sequences in syllable codas decrease in sonority from left to right. From this we can predict which consonant sequences are more probable for syllable onsets and codas.

Phonotactics - Wikipedia

The syllables on the right have two sonority peaks -- and so it's much more difficult to produce them so that they sound like one syllable…for example: Phonotactic probability in phonotactic constraints learning. Levels of processing in perception of spoken words.


Probabilistic phonotactics and neighborhood activation in spoken word recognition. Phonotactics and syllable stress: Implications for the processing phonotactic constraints spoken nonsense words.