Languages: flexible systems that use symbols to express many meanings. plays a key role in day-to-day communication. Psycholinguistics: branch of psychology focusing on the study of verbal behaviour (how children acquire language). It does not come to us in series of individual words; we must extract the words from a. Auditory system enables us to recognize speech sounds. The left hemisphere of the brain plays a large role in speech recognition. Phonemes: elements of speech (smallest units of sounds that allow us to distinguish the meaning of a spoken word). example: pin includes: /p/ + /i/ + /n/ Voice-onset time: delay between the initial sound of a consonant (/p/) and the onset sound of vibration of the vocal cords. example: /p/ and /b/, and /t/ and /d/ Left auditory cortex specialize in recognizing the special aspects of speech. Latter regions of auditory cortex rely on information that transcends the distortions of individual phonemes. it. language).