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Lecture 13

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Mattieu Lecorre

Lecture 12 – Voice Onset Time (VOT) Categorical perception: basics - Sound is caused by air vibrations - Human vocal apparatus can make air vibrate by: o Vibrating vocal chords in throat o Letting air flow through mouth - Vocal chords and mouth are separate “vibration instruments” o Similar to musical instruments creating air vibrations - Can make sound with vocal chords while mouth closed  humming - Can make sound by letting air flow through mouth without making vocal chords vibrate  whispering or “pop” in /p/ sound. o All consonants are based on this model o Allowing air flow through mouth without vocal cords vibrating - They are thus different instruments Make /ba/ by combining vocal chords and mouth - /ba/: vibration caused by mouth happens almost AT THE SAME TIME as vibration caused by vocal chords Make /pa/ by combining vocal chords and mouth - /pa/: Vibration caused by mouth (initial “pop” in /pa/) happens BEFORE vibration caused by vocal chords How to bulid /ba/ and /pa/: summary - Although having a PEAR for lunch is wildly different from having a BEAR for lunch, only difference between the two words is: o Relative timing of mouth vibration vs. vocal chord vibration Why “categorical perception” - Change in relative timing of mouth and vocal chords is gradual and has many (infinitely) possible values - Ear cares about only two values: o Vocal chords BEFORE (or at the same time as) mouth o Vocal chords AFTER mouth o The two categories both have different sounds (each take up a different part of the sound spectrum) - A small sound difference can make a LARGE PERCEPTUAL difference: hear /ba/ or /pa/ - But also have LARGE SOUND differences that make NO PERCEPTUAL Why say “categorical” - SIZE of relative difference between vocal chords and mouth is not what matters for perception of /pa/ vs. /ba/ - What matters is timing of vocal chords relative to BOUNDARY set by mouth opening o Only before the boundary and after How we get the boundary between /pa/ and /ba/ - Hypothesis 1: LEARNED FROM ENVIRONMENT o Babies produce all the sounds on the /ba/ to /pa/ continuum o Keep track of how people respond to them o Notice that people respond the same whenever  Vocal chords vibrate BEFORE mouth opens  Or vocal chords vibrate AFTER mouth opens o Result: package all BEFORE sounds in one category, and all AFTER sounds in other categories - Hypothesis 2: innate o Auditory system is innately built to split up sounds How can we test how we get the boundary between /pa/ and /ba/? - Ask 1 month olds! o Don’t produce speech sounds o So if show categorical perception, categorical perception can’t be learned from environment~ - Wait! But how do you ask a 1 month old what it hears o They are good at sucking High Amplitude Sucking Procedure - Eac
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