-Human beings are the only species that can communicate using language that is what
makes us uniquely human.
-Without language people would not be able to communicate new ideas, desires, needs
and corporate gatherings would be impoverished as well as the acquisition of new
knowledge would be near impossible without language. This is why all humans expect
ones that have brain damage or total isolation can use language. It is innate in that
-We are going to look at some things in particular
-Sounds in languages
-processes people use to decode sentences
-biological roots of language
-the ways language skills might shape how we think
The Organization of Language
-Language deals with a special kind of translation, translating from scenes you have
witnessed to sounds that you can utter to another person and this person needs to
comprehend. So it goes idea-->sounds-->ideas
-language is organized with clear patterns in the way ideas are expressed.
-as speakers and listeners we need to grasp the pattern of the language, we need to
know what ideas are intended by the words, we must be able to decode syntax etc.
-Structure starts with a idea a speaker is trying to say...it comes out in the form of a
-sentence:coherent sequences of words that express the intended meaning of a
-phrases: this are sections of words that make up a sentence
-words: words make up a phrase and they are made up of morphemes
-morphemes: are units of words that can either stand alone be joined to another.
-bound morpheme: this are have to be connected to other morphemes to
add meaning and make sense. for instance -s ,-ing when added can add
meaning to other morphemes
-free morphemes these are units that can stand alone like talk, umpire etc.
-phonemes: these are the smallest units of sounds that make up morphemes
and can be used to distinguish words.
-letters; phonemes are represented by letters and symbols
-within this structure there are other orders, people can combine and recombine to get
completely new sentences never uttered before. creating new phrases, phonemes
creating new words etc.
-not all combinations are possible though although Klof can be accepted Tlof cant be
because Klof is pronounceable. Sentences like I admired the lurking octopi cant be
turned into the octopi admired the i lurking.
The Production of Speech
-Air flows from lungs through larynx and then nose and mouth but if this airflow is
interrupted then noises are produced which are sounds.
-inside the larynx there are 2 flaps of skin call vocal folds and they can rapidly open and
close producing a buzzing vibration called voicing.
-you can also produce sound by narrowing the air passageway within the mouth. When
producing [s] air is trying to escape through the narrow path b/w your teeth and tongue.
-[sh] tongue is further back and creates a narrow gap, air coming through makes that
sound.[f] air rushing through bottom lip and top teeth.
-Categorization of sounds, we can distinguish sounds according to
-how airflow is restricted: manner of production: air can move through the nose,
be completely restricted [p,b,t]or partially restricted[f,z,r].
-Voicing: produced with vocal folds vibrating or not vibrating
voiced:[v,z,n,] and voiceless:[f,s,t,k]
-where airflow is restricted place of articulation. labial, bilabial[p,b], alveolar[t,d],
-in english there are about 40 phonemes that can be created when the features
The complexity of speech production:
-phonemes that differ in one feature sound similar and those that differ by multiple
features are not similar, thats why we can sometimes make errors in a noisy space.
-misperceptions are usually only one phoneme off, the speaker needs to detect the right
amount of speech features to be able to understand and identify the speech sound.
-however its a little more complicated than that. By examining a pattern of speech in
terms of wavelength and all that it is hard to see where the boundaries are. where does
one phoneme end and the other begin? what are the syllables or words.
-So before you go into identifying the phoneme you have slice it and parse it into
segments, this process is called speech segmentation
-When we hear sentences we perceive to hear pauses between the words but in reality
its an illusion because there are no pauses, when we measure the speech stream its
clear to see the lack of pauses , we can also see it when we listen to speech we don’t
understand because we don’t know to segment the speech.
-coarticulation also complicates speech perception. it refers to the fact that in producing
speech ones does not utter one phoneme at a time, the phonemes overlap. for instance
saying the word soup, when saying the [s] your mouth is preparing for the vowel sound
and then you tongue and lips are in position for the next one.
-overlap allows for speech and fluency, it can be a problem because [s] in soup is
different from [s] in salt because the vowels after are different and interfere so there is
no constant pattern for [s].
Aids to Speech Perception
-speech we encounter day to day is limited in range.Although we know 10’s of
thousands of words we only use a few, 50 most commonly used words in english, make
up half of the words we hear in general.
-when we perceiving speech we don’t rely only on the stimuli there are other pieces of
knowledge we use including what the words are in the language. So when we hear the
1st phoneme we think of all the words that start with that phoneme, when you hear the
2nd you think of the words that start with those 2 and you narrow it down as you go, so
its not a matter of hearing all the phonemes its a matter of hearing a few and matching it
to the words in our vocabulary.
-sometimes we rely on broader cases that have to do with context a word appears
in.The phonemic restoration effect can explain context use. researchers modify tape
recorded sounds for instead took the [s] sound out of legislature and put in a noise and
then asked people to say what they heard in the sentence the state govt. met with their
respective legi*latures convening in the capital, people could do this because of the
context of other words in the sentence.
-people don't just infer the missing sound, they actually claim to here it.They know this
because when asked about the burst of noise they could identify where it was.
-speech perception is used in order to convey ideas from speaker while the listener is
trying to discern information. The ideas are not only the start and end point but they also
shape the process because the listener is always trying to figure out what the speaker is
trying to say.
-with and without context humans are good at deriving info from speech which makes us
a linguistic species.
-categorical perception refers to the fact that we are much better at hearing differences
b/w categories of sounds then variations within categories of sound. This is good
because it allows us to hear with accuracy without dealing with inconsequential
variations in categories.
-Categorical perception is generally demonstrated through computer produced speech,
allows us to ask how ppl perceive each stimulus in a precise defined series. we say a ba
sound and distort it a couple of times till we get to a pa sound and then we ask how ppl
perceive those variations. What happens is that we move from a clear ba to a clear pa
so in the middle we would expect ppl to be less and less sure about it resembling a
clear ba or a clear pa(graded membership). It depends on how close to ba or pa you
are. The closer to ba the more you identify as ba and the same with pa. So for people
listening the first half is ba and the 2nd is pa.
-we are tuned to listen to just the info we need
-Language is all about combinations of phonemes to create morphemes which combine
to create words.Ppl need to know the phonemes and how they fit to become
-There are rules that govern what phoneme goes with what phoneme for ing can only be
at the end of a word and not the beginning, and some don't work at all tlof.
Human beings are the only species that can communicate using language that is what makes us uniquely human. Without language people would not be able to communicate new ideas, desires, needs and corporate gatherings would be impoverished as well as the acquisition of new knowledge would be near impossible without language. This is why all humans expect ones that have brain damage or total isolation can use language. We are going to look at some things in particular. The ways language skills might shape how we think. Language deals with a special kind of translation, translating from scenes you have witnessed to sounds that you can utter to another person and this person needs to comprehend. Language is organized with clear patterns in the way ideas are expressed. As speakers and listeners we need to grasp the pattern of the language, we need to know what ideas are intended by the words, we must be able to decode syntax etc.