Speech sounds nearly always occur in the context of other speech sounds, and those other speech sounds affect their perception. Most demonstrations of the perceptual effects of a target sound's context show that it is perceived as differing from its context. Perhaps accidentally, the very great majority of studies of such context effects have examined the effects of preceding contexts and not following contexts, which (in hindsight) raises the question of whether the target sound will also be perceived as differing from a following context. Kingston says in hindsight because we accidentally discovered a little while ago that a target sound can be perceived as resembling rather than differing from a following context. This perceptual resemblance or assimilation appears to be a product of listeners treating acoustic properties of the following context as information about the earlier target.
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