The recognition of phonologically assimilated words does not depend on specific language experience

Holger Mitterer, Valéria Csépe, Ferenc Honbolygo, Leo Blomert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)


In a series of 5 experiments, we investigated whether the processing of phonologically assimilated utterances is influenced by language learning, Previous experiments had shown that phonological assimilations, such as /lean#bacon/ → [learn bacon], are compensated for in perception. In this article, we investigated whether compensation for assimilation can occur without experience with an assimilation rule using automatic event-related potentials. Our first experiment indicated that Dutch listeners compensate for a Hungarian assimilation rule. Two subsequent experiments, however, failed to show compensation for assimilation by both Dutch and Hungarian listeners. Two additional experiments showed that this was due to the acoustic properties of the assimilated utterance, confirming earlier reports that phonetic detail is important in compensation for assimilation. Our data indicate that compensation for assimilation can occur without experience with an assimilation rule, in line with phonetic-phonological theories that assume that speech production is influenced by speech-perception abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-479
Number of pages29
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2006



  • Continuous speech
  • Dutch
  • Hungarian
  • Phonological assimilation
  • Phonology
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

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