Jason Shaw published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Jason Shaw co-authored a paper in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America entitled “Effects of vowel coproduction on the timecourse of tone recognition”. The paper uses eye-tracking to assess whether vowel quality influences the perception of lexical tone in Mandarin Chinese. Although vowels and tones had been thought to be largely independent, recent work shows that tones have a small but consistent effect on the production of vowels (Shaw et al. 2016). This paper shows the perceptual relevance of that variation. Tone-conditioned variation in vowel production is interpreted by listeners as information about tone, leading to faster tonal recognition. The paper also develops a discussion of how vowel formants can amplify harmonics, leading to faster processing of pitch when harmonics and formants overlap.