I don't have a precise reference for you but it might be interesting for you to look through the publications of Valerie Hazan. Some of her work has investigated the perceptual consequences of switching out initial consonants. In considering vowel categories it may also be interesting to check out the article below and the recent book, 'Vowel inherent spectral change' (Eds Morrison & Assman).
You've probably heard it before, but be careful - studies in vowel perception are not for the feint-hearted.
All the best
Thyer NJ; Hickson LM; Dodd BJ (2000) The Perceptual Magnet Effect in Australian English Vowels. Perception & Psychophysics, 61 (1).
Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics
University of Copenhagen
2300 København S
From: AUDITORY - Research in Auditory Perception [AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] on behalf of David Klein [kleinsound@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 6:59 AM
Subject: Wrod Ilntilitgelibiy wtih Pnoheme Cufisonon
I am seeking references on the subject of human speech intelligibility as a function of individual phoneme distortions. I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Can anybody help point me in the right direction?
I'd specifically like to know how word intelligibility holds up when distortions of a particular phoneme class would cause members of that class to be highly confusable when presented in isolation.
More generally, I wonder how well humans can do when consonants are relatively clear but vowels are highly ambiguous.
I suppose two ways this might have been studied would have been using, on the one hand, noise or channel distortions specifically targeted to distorting certain phoneme classes; or, on the other hand, manipulating the signal by switching certain phonemes to other perceptually nearby phonemes.