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Lecture 13

PSYCH 211: Lecture 13 Notes

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Mathieu Le Corre

2: Phonology: the problem -don’t confuse letters and phonemes -there are no obvious breaks in what babies hear (sounds like continuous words/sounds) -you can’t start learning words unless you know which sounds changes make different words! -how big of a change in sound makes a new word for babies? (pat vs. bat, or pat vs. code) -2 options: there is a language acquisition device whose job is to learn language and knows a whole bunch of stuff about language without needing any experience -other is imitation, experience, etc. and it learns language through experience (doesn’t know anything about language ahead of time) -we know the sounds of all possible human languages as babies -babies can tell differences in sound that even adults cannot 4: categorical perception: basics -sound is a transformation of air vibrations hitting our ears -2 general ways to make sounds: -vibrate vocal chords -let air flow through the mouth -usually both happen at the same time -these are actually separate “vibrational instruments” -ex. when humming, there is a vibration of vocal chords, but no air flow through the mouth -ex. when whispering, you are making sound by letting air flow through the mouth without making vocal chords vibrate (and the /p/ sound in “pop”) -/ba/ sound is a combination of vocal chords and mouth (happen at almost the same time) -/pa/ sound is a combination of vocal chords and mouth (mouth releases air slightly before vocal chords vibrate (~30 ms)) 7: How to build /ba/ and /pa/: summary - 8: why “categorical perception” -different sounds are created when there is a change in timing of mouth and vocal chord action -ear cares only about 2 values: -vocal chords BEFORE (or same time as) mouth -/ba/ -vocal chords AFTER mouth -/pa/ -tiny difference in sound makes a huge difference in the word -it’s our brain that recognizes these changes; it is not in the sound -categorical perception (the jump and the lumping together) -ex. chairs and tables are very different from each other; but within chairs, there can be many differences, same with tables; but they are catagorized together -huge difference in sound, but no difference in the word (when boundary is not crossed) 14: How we get the boundary between /pa/ and /ba/ -hypothesis 1: learned from environment - -hypothesis 2: innate -something in our auditory system just likes to separate sound in that way 16: how can we test how we get the boundary between /pa/ and /ba/? -testing 1 month olds: -really good at sucking -experiment -pacifier hooked up to a ghetto blaster; every time the baby sucks on the pacifier, a sound is produced; if the baby likes the sound, it will continue to suck -for 1 group of babies, the sound straddled the /ba/-/pa/ boundary; for the other group, the sound stayed in the /ba/ or /pa/ boundary -whenever the baby sucks, it plays /pa/; then when the baby gets bored and stops sucking, play /ba/ and see if the baby starts sucking again due to interest in a new sound -in other group, /pa/1 is
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