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Colorado Research in Linguistics

Document Type

Working Paper

Abstract

In a German variant of a letter-detection experiment, native speakers of German read passages in German, searching for the letter d, t, n, or r in four passages. Many more instances of the letter d in definite articles and in the word und were missed than were missed in nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Subjects also missed more syllable-final instances of the letter d than syllable-initial d or syllable-final t. Cluster status and word location of the letter did not affect the results for final d. The first finding supports earlier similar findings by Healy (e.g. 1976) for English, and Ferstl 1991 for German, with respect to high frequency words in the language being read in units larger than the letter. The second finding is understood in terms of the German phenomenon of neutralizing the difference in pronunciation between d and t in syllable-final position. Other preliminary analyses of various linguistic phenomenon were more inconclusive, and point out areas for further research.

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