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Language and Mind, Week 7

by: Carole Boulware

Language and Mind, Week 7 LING 275

Carole Boulware
GPA 3.3

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Language and Mind, Week 7
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 10 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 II [Overview of March 29, 2016] [see class handout for figures and graphs] Today and last time: Two examples of categorical perception (i) Voice onset time (p/b, t/d etc) (ii) Place of articulation (p/d/g – bilabial, alveolar, velar) => Importance of formant transitions (look at handouts from class today, handouts from lab and last week’s class notes) ______________________________________________________________________________ Losing Categories  “Infants are able to distinguish nearly every phonemic contrast on which they have been tested” (Werker chapter)  Infants start to lose the ability to perceive some “non-native” categories between 10-12 months. Language: Thompson Salish (Nthlakampx), indigenous language in British Columbia [k'] - air compressed between tongue/velum and glottis, [q'] - air compressed between tongue/uvula and glottis Acoustic difference in formant transitions Videoclip on research by Janet Werker: => Conditioned Headturn (see class handout for today for details of this method) ______________________________________________________________________________ Discrimination ability in the visual domain  Infants (4, 6, and 8-months) watched silent videos of English- & French-speaking adults  English-only homes vs. English-French bilingual homes o 4- and 6-month-old infants could distinguish English vs. French (silent) videos, regardless of home language o 8-month-old infants were able to make the distinction only if they came from bilingual homes  Role of exposure to ambient language  Without exposure to the relevant input, sensitivity is lost Q = Is categorical perception something special that only happens with humans hearing speech sounds? Let’s consider three more examples: (a) Categorical Perception for Faces by humans ______________________________________________________________________________ (b) Categorical perception in animals for speech sounds: Chinchillas & VOT (see handout)  Train chinchillas with endpoint sounds: 0 ms VOT ‘da’ vs. +80 ms VOT ‘ta’ (continues below)  Testing phase: Ta/da continuum, 10ms steps (+10ms VOT through to +70 ms VOT) 1  Which sounds do the chinchillas categorize as harmless and which as shock-inducing?  Chinchillas show categorical perception for VOT with human infant boundary.  Perhaps related to mammalian auditory system? Some distinctions have to be learned from surrounding language: o Infants in a Spanish-speaking environment  responded to 20ms vs. 60ms VOT (English ba/pa boundary)  did not respond to -20ms vs. 20ms VOT (see handout, Spanish ba/pa boundary)  Role of language-dependent learning ______________________________________________________________________________ (c) Categorical perception in animals with non-speech sounds: Tones in crickets  Chirp frequencies are meaningful and important for crickets o 40 kHz chirps indicate a threat (bat!) o 10 kHz chirps indicate a possible mate o Categorical perception, boundary around 16 kHz ______________________________________________________________________________ Paradigms / methods for infant research that we have discussed: (i) Preferential listening (see notes for speech segmentation lecture) (ii) High Amplitude Sucking (HAS) (see notes for CP lecture & handouts from class) (iii) Conditioned headturn (see today’s class handout) Key concepts/things to know:  Categorical perception of VOT  Categorical perception of place of articulation  Developmental changes in infants/children’s abilities over time  Role of exposure to the surrounding language  Role of learning patterns from the surrounding language (e.g. Spanish VOT boundary)  What do these things tell us about categorical perception? o VOT, perception of faces, chinchillas, crickets  What are three key paradigms used for research on infant language acquisition? 2


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