Phonotactic Probability Calculator

Phonotactic probability refers to the frequency with which a phonological segment, such as /s/, and a sequence of phonological segments, such as /s^/, occur in a given position in a word (Jusczyk, Luce & Charles-Luce, 1994). The method used to estimate phonotactic probability in Jusczyk, Luce, and Charles-Luce (1994) and in many other studies investigating the influence of phonotactic probability on language processing (see below) has been made freely available to language researchers on this web site. The effort to make this method of calculating phonotactic probability available to the research community was supported in part by research grants R03 DC 04259 (Kansas University), and R01 DC 0265801 (University at Buffalo) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health.

A detailed description of how to use the Phonotactic Probability Calculator (PPC), how to interpret the output, and a list of the computer readable transcription (and the IPA equivalents) required as input to the PPC can be found in the paper below. If you use the PPC to estimate phonotactic probability in a set of real English words or made-up nonwords, please be sure to cite this article:

Vitevitch, M.S. & Luce, P.A. (2004) A web-based interface to calculate phonotactic probability for words and nonwords in English. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 36, 481-487. [PDF version]

Computer-Readable transcription ("Klattese") equivalents to IPA

Furthermore, I would greatly appreciate receiving a reprint (electronic or hard copy) of any published work that uses the Phonotactic Probability Calculator. Reprints may be sent to:

Michael Vitevitch
Department of Psychology
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045

OR via e-mail:

Connect to the 
Phonotactic Probability Calculator

The Phonotactic Probability Calculator is now housed on a more stable server, and the bug that would cause the program to crash when too many hard returns were entered has been fixed. Thank you for your patience while these concerns were addressed. Thanks also to the Digital and Electrical Engineering Core  (DEEC) of the Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences  in Communication Disorders (BNCD) for fixing this program and making it available to the research community on their server.

BNCD Center
 University of Kansas
 1000 Sunnyside Avenue
 3031 Dole Human Development Center
 Lawrence, Kansas 66045

 funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders,
 National Institutes of Health
 grant P30 DC005803

© 2004 The BNCD Center at the University of Kansas. The BNCD is affiliated with the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies.


A small sample of the papers that have used the Phonotactic Probability Calculator:

Acheson, D.J., Postle, B.R. & MacDonald, M.C. (2010). The interaction of concreteness and phonological similarity in verbal working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36, 17-36.

Anderson, J.D. & Byrd, C.T. (2008).  Phonotactic probability effects in children who stutter. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51, 851-866.

Baese-Berk, M. &  Goldrick, M. (2009). Mechanisms of interaction in speech production. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24, 527-554.

Berent, I. (2008).   Are phonological representations of printed and spoken language isomorphic? Evidence from the restrictions on unattested onsets. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34, 1288-1304.

Berent, I., Steriade, D., Lennertz, T., & Vaknin, V. (2007). What we know about what we have never heard: Evidence from perceptual illusions. Cognition, 104, 591-630.

Cole, J. (2009). Emergent feature structures: Harmony systems in exemplar models of phonology. Language Sciences. Special Issue: Data and theory: Papers in phonology in celebration of Charles W. Kissebeth., 31, 144-160.

German, D.J. & Newman, R.S. (2007).   Oral reading skills of children with oral language (word-finding) difficulties. Reading Psychology, 28, 397-442.

Hills, T.T., Maouene, M., Maouene, J., Sheya, A., & Smith, L. (2009). Longitudinal analysis of early semantic networks: Preferential attachment or preferential acquisition? Psychological Science, 20, 729-739.

Hoff, E., Core, C. & Bridges, K. (2008).   Non-word repetition assesses phonological memory and is related to vocabulary development in 20- to 24-month-olds. Journal of Child Language, 35, 903-916.

Jerger, S., Damian, M.F., Spence, M.J., Tye-Murray, N., & Abdi, H. (2009). Developmental shifts in children's sensitivity to visual speech: A new multimodal picture-word task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 102, 40-59.

Jerger, S., Tye-Murray, N., &  Abdi, H. (2009). Role of visual speech in phonological processing by children with hearing loss. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52, 412-434.

Lee, Y. & Goldrick, M. (2008).  The emergence of sub-syllabic representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 155-168.

Myers, E.B. & Blumstein, S.E. (2008). The neural bases of the lexical effect: An fMRI investigation. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 278-288.

Ouellette, G.P. & Sénéchal, M. (2008).   A window into early literacy: Exploring the cognitive and linguistic underpinnings of invented spelling. Scientific Studies of Reading, 12, 195-219.

Pitt, M.A, Myung, J.I, & Altteri, N. (2007). Modeling the word recognition data of Vitevitch and Luce (1998): Is it ARTful? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 442-448.

Pitt, M.A., Myung, J.I., Montenegro, M., & Pooley, J. (2008). Measuring model flexibility with parameter space partitioning: An introduction and application example. Cognitive Science, 32, 1285-1303.

Pittman, A.L. (2008). Short-term word-learning rate in children with normal hearing and children with hearing loss in limited and extended high-frequency bandwidths. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51, 785-797.

Prabhakaran, R., Blumstein, S.E., Myers, E.B, Hutchison, E., & Britton, B. (2006). An event-related fMRI investigation of phonological-lexical competition. Neuropsychologia, 44, 2209-2221.

Sebastian, C. & Yasin, I. (2008).Speech versus tone processing in compensated dyslexia: Discrimination and lateralization with a dichotic Mismatch Negativity (MMN) paradigm. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 70, 115-126.

Shuster, L.I. (2009) The effect of sublexical and lexical frequency on speech production: An fMRI investigation. Brain & Language, 111, 66-72.

Trofimovich, P., Gatbonton, E. & Segalowitz, N. (2007). A dynamic look at L2 phonological learning: Seeking processing explanations for implicational phenomena. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 29, 407-448.

Vouloumanos, A. & Werker, J.F. (2009). Infants’ learning of novel words in a stochastic environment. Developmental Psychology, 45, 1611-1617.

Yasin, I. (2007). Hemispheric differences in processing dichotic meaningful and non-meaningful words. Neuropsychologia, 45, 2718-2729.

Zapf, J.A & Smith, L.B. (2007). When do children generalize the plural to novel nouns? First Language, 27, 53-73.