Limits on Learning Phonotactic Constraints From Recent Production Experience

Jill A. Warker, Gary S. Dell, Christine A. Whalen, Samantha Gereg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adults can learn new artificial phonotactic constraints by producing syllables that exhibit the constraints. The experiments presented here tested the limits of phonotactic learning in production using speech errors as an implicit measure of learning. Experiment 1 tested a constraint in which the placement of a consonant as an onset or coda depended on the identity of a nonadjacent consonant. Participant speech errors reflected knowledge of the constraint but not until the 2nd day of testing. Experiment 2 tested a constraint in which consonant placement depended on an extralinguistic factor, the speech rate. Participants were not able to learn this constraint. Together, these experiments suggest that phonotactic-like constraints are acquired when mutually constraining elements reside within the phonological system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1289-1295
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • language production
  • phonotactic learning
  • speech errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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