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2000 Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2000 Macmillan Magazines Ltd letters to nature

Summary: © 2000 Macmillan Magazines Ltd© 2000 Macmillan Magazines Ltd
letters to nature
430 NATURE |VOL 403 |27 JANUARY 2000 |www.nature.com
that consonants are more dif®cult to produce than vowels. More
importantly, this fact and the fact that error performance depends
neither on the sonority value of individual phonemes nor on their
feature properties suggest that consonants and vowels are categori-
cally distinct objects at some level of representation even though
they are not categorically distinguishable at a phonetic level. This
conclusion is consistent with recent experimental work in speech
production with neurologically intact speakers, which has shown
that phonological encoding operates over segments (consonants
and vowels) and not features14
. Evidence consistent with the
possibility that consonants and vowels are represented categorically
in perception is provided by the results of a study that stimulated the
left superior temporal gyrus of patients with implanted subdural
electrode arrays15
. Stimulation impaired discrimination of conso-
nants but not vowels. Importantly, the disruptive effect of the


Source: Aston-Jones, Gary - Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina


Collections: Biology and Medicine