Processing and representation
Bengali has a robust medial geminate/singleton contrast across oral stops and nasals in five places of articulation. This chapter presents a synchronic account of the phonological system involving the consonantal length contrast, which supports an asymmetric moraic representation of geminates. Based on these representational assumptions, two EEG and two behavioural experiments were conducted to investigate the processing of this geminate/singleton contrast by Bengali native speakers. The results reveal a processing asymmetry for the duration contrast: the processing of the duration contrast is indeed asymmetric: a geminate mispronunciation is accepted for a singleton real word, while the reverse is not the case. This provides evidence that the lexical representation of the duration contrast must be asymmetric and thus privative rather than equipollent.
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