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Subjective Estimates of Consonant Phoneme Frequencies NICHD

Carroll, John B.; Lamendella, John T.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), College Students, Linguistics, Mathematical Applications, Structural Analysis


Subjective magnitude estimates of the frequencies of 24 consonant phonemes were obtained from 65 university students, some with training in linguistics, by a method that had been used by Attneave (1953) for judgments of letter frequencies. Reliabilities of averaged judgments for comparably sized groups of 30 judges were estimated as in the neighborhood of .95. Averages of logarithmically transformed judgments were correlated with log frequencies from objective counts with coefficients in the range .736 to .876 (or .764 to .907 when corrected for attenuation). Despite the high reliabilities and predictive validities, there was evidence that the judgments were strongly influenced by experienced frequencies of letters of the alphabet. (24pp.)

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