The imitation paradigm (Goldinger, 1998) has shown that subjects shift their production in the direction of the target, indicating the use of episodic traces in speech perception. By using this paradigm, two experiments were carried out to test: 1) if/how this implicit phonetic imitation interacts with linguistic representations when the change might impair linguistic contrast; 2) whether phonetic imitation can be generalized, and 3) whether word-level specificity can be obtained through physical measurements of a phonetic feature. The results revealed a significant effect of implicit phonetic imitation for extended VOTs, although there was no imitation observed for reduced VOTs. Furthermore, the imitated feature (extended VOT) was generalized to new instances of the target phoneme /p/ as well as to the new segment /k/. These results indicate that 1) knowledge of phonemic contrast modulates the implicit phonetic imitation, and 2) speakers possess sub-phonemic representations.