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Lecture 2

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Craig Chambers

PSY315 Lecture 2 Phonological Development Sound systems in language: - contrastive: capable of conveying contrast relative to other sounds - contrast: create a difference in meaning if you substitute that sound for another in some particular context - ex. Pill o ‘p’ sound, substitute it for ‘b’ and substitute it for a different meaning (bill) o ‘p’ and ‘b’ are different sounds of the English language, because they are contrastive - ex. Might and night o they sound similar  but express different meanings  ‘m’ and ‘n’ are contrastive in English - different ways of pronouncing the sound /k/ in English o versions of the same sound measuring the development of speech abilities: - perception of sounds: how they process sounds - production of sounds: how they produce these sounds  tend to see the emergence of perception abilities before they are able to produce those in their own speech Learning the phonetic inventory: - What is the initial state? o One possibility  All just undifferentiated noise • Brain is categorizing them equally o Maybe you start to differentiate between quiet and noisy sounds  Set of progressively finder distinctions that are made over the course of development  How is this going to be tested? Methodologies: 1. High-Amplitude Sucking (HAS) a. Pacifier hooked up to electrode b. Pacifier in babies mouth c. Babies suck on pacifier at a certain rate d. As child gets bored, sucking rate is decreasing e. Indirect measure of interest in the child f. Combine with paradigm where stimulus is repeated over again (what should happen: sucking rate decreases because it’s boring) and then play what is perceived by infant as a new sound i. If they perceive it as different then sucking rate should increase (it’s new, interesting) ii. If they don’t then nothing should happen 2. Conditioned Head-Turn paradigm (more common) a. Association where child learns new sounds and some kind of visual stimulus b. Habituation paradigm i. Ability to look at behaviour in regard to boring stimuli with new stimuli  looking at where two sounds are perceived as different Back to the question: What’s the initial state for detecting contrasts? - most sounds, infants perceive differences among the sound from the starting point - starting point: children pre-packaged to hear lots of different speech sounds o include speech sounds that their parents don’t perceive as being different PSY315 Lecture 2 - infants come as packaged “universal listeners” o reducing the contrast you’ve been exposed to o sensitized to the language you are going to use When does this happen? - over the course of the first year - initially, high ability to make discrimination between sounds o continues to go down - doesn’t matter what sounds they are - by the end of the first year, narrowed into the contrasts that are relative for your language - sounds not contrastive to your language: non-native sounds - not true of all speech sounds A puzzle - if they haven’t started to zoom in on the set of specific speech sounds, how can they have this ability to differentiate their language from other languages? o Rhythmic, intonation characteristics of the language  Allows them to recognize their language - Categorical perception: o There are stimuli that could belong to two different categories, how is it that the perceptual system categorizes which category perceptual stimuli belong to? o For speech sounds  Differences between speech sounds are a matter of degree • Not qualitatively different, they are quantitatively different o Ex. How high is the tongue? Is it more to the roof of the mouth, bottom of the mouth, more to the back? o Doesn’t seem to characterize how other types of perception work Example 1: colour wavelength - continuous perception o for each wavelength, we are able to tell - Perception of speech doesn’t work the same as the perception of colour o Systematically keep hearing speech sounds that belong to a particular category  At long voice onset sound, going to hear a “pa” sound, at short going to hear a “ba” sound - in-between values: o should sound more like “ba” successively o with each shrink should sound more like “ba” as oppose to “pa”  Is this what happened? • No o People behave relatively consistently in hearing a “pa” until they hit some over cross-over point when suddenly they switch over o Steep gradient in the middle:  Referred to as categorical perception • People behave uniformly on either side of the boundary o Regardless of the fact that they are playing increasing voice onset sounds  Extreme crossover: have ambiguity • Don’t see the difference between them until we get to this crossover point PSY315 Lecture 2 o Categorical Perception of speech  Not seen in colour perception? o Certain differences in minor sounds are perceived as irrelevant - Categorical Perception in Infants: HAS technique o Pick two sounds that differ in 20 msec in VOT o 20 msec where it crosses the boundary:  when you have two speech sounds across the boundary • infants perceive it as being different o 20 msec from the same category:  infants were still bored, perceive it as being similar o VOT at category boundary is important Summary - infants have the ability to focus on sounds that are important - might not be any role for more conical forms of learning - cases suggest that we had it from the very beginning Fernald et al. - perceptual efficiency o eye-tracking paradigm o Results:  When th
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