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Language and Mind, Week 6

by: Carole Boulware

Language and Mind, Week 6 LING 275

Carole Boulware
GPA 3.3

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Language and Mind, Week 6
Language and Mind
Elsi Miia Kaiser, Rachel Walker
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carole Boulware on Wednesday July 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LING 275 at University of Southern California taught by Elsi Miia Kaiser, Rachel Walker in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Language and Mind in Linguistics at University of Southern California.


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Date Created: 07/20/16
LING 275 Language and Mind, Spring 2016, Kaiser/Walker Speech perception: Categorical perception [Overview of March 24, 2016] - Some things vary gradually along a physical continuum of values, e.g. loudness, color, VOT - Some things vary categorically e.g. car brand  Some physical phenomena are perceived continuously but we do not necessarily perceive all physical changes as gradual/continuous  Categorical perception = Perceiving a continuous range of stimuli as members of discrete categories (Harnad, 1987).  English VOTs: 0 ms [b] or 60 ms [p] o What about a sound with a VOT of 30ms? [see class handout, which is also downloadable from Blackboard, for graphs] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Acoustic input on a continuum Perceptual Representation is divided into two categories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  VOT in English is perceived categorically, with the category boundary at 30ms  (i) Good between-category discrimination  (ii) Poor within-category discrimination What is Categorical Perception Good For?  Stable perception of a variable signal: Good discrimination between categories, not hindered by variation within a category.  Helps compensate for the lack of invariance in speech One way of assessing categorical perception (more later): Forced choice identification  A participant hears a sound, asked to categorize it (e.g., is it [pa] or [ba]?). Categorical Perception in Infants - Are we born perceiving speech categorically? High Amplitude Sucking (HAS), sucking rate is the dependent variable.  Each time infant sucks  speech stimulus o Infants get excited when they hear sounds o Infants get bored after a while when sounds are repeated o Infants perk up again when a new sound is presented  Is a particular sound treated as a new different sound, or the same as the preceding sounds?  FIRST = Habituation Phase  THEN = Switch to playing a new stimulus a at predetermined sucking-rate threshold o What happens? o Dishabituation (increase sucking rate) OR Continued decrease in sucking rate Eimas et al  1-month-old and 4-month-old infants habituated to an adult [pa] or an adult [ba].  Switched stimulus is either: o Acoustic Change: different VOT from same adult category o Phonemic Change: different VOT from different adult category o Control: no change in stimulus Phonemic change ba pa 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 msec pa pa Acoustic change Results: Dishabituation in Phonemic Change condition; no dishabituation in Acoustic Change or Control. Infants as young as 1-month perceive VOT changes categorically. [see class handout, which is also downloadable from Blackboard, for important graphs] We focused on categorical perception of VOT today. However, the phenomenon of categorical perception is not limited to VOT. As we will see, place of articulation (e.g. with stop consonants) is also perceived categorically. Important terms/concepts to know: Categorical perception VOT (voice onset time) Lack of invariance Good between-category discrimination Poor within-category discrimination High-Amplitude Sucking Dishabituation vs. habituation Acoustic change Phonemic change


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